Market Reality: Apple Cultivates Chinese AR Devs, Minecraft Earth Beta Arrives, & a Brief History of AR in Marvel Movies

Apple Cultivates Chinese AR Devs, Minecraft Earth Beta Arrives, & a Brief History of AR in Marvel Movies

This week, while Apple was the subject of thinly sourced reports that it had canceled development of its oft-rumored smartglasses, the Cupertino was actually laying the foundation for its AR hardware future with a new initiative focused on mentoring Chinese developers in mobile AR development.

Meanwhile, two of Apple's main competitors, Microsoft and Google, showcased their latest mobile AR experiences this week via Minecraft Earth and Google Lens, respectively.

Finally, as Marvel brings the first chapter of its Cinematic Universe to a definitive conclusion, we took the opportunity to revisit its films and the sci-fi-meets-tech concepts that make us salivate for the future of augmented reality.

Apple Courts China's AR App Devs via Accelerator

With the latest version of ARKit and a new set augmented reality development tools set to arrive this Fall with iOS 13, Apple has taken an unprecedented step in recruiting Chinese developers to fill the App Store with mobile AR apps now, likely with an eye to the future.

On Wednesday, Apple cut the ribbon a new design development accelerator, located in the Pudong district of Shanghai. This is the first center of its kind opened by Apple in China.

Continue reading to learn more about the new facility and why it's a key strategic move in the company's efforts to grow its mobile AR app ecosystem, as well as its eventual entry into the consumer smartglasses market...

REALITY BITES: Snap has chosen its next class of 10 startups. The companies will benefit from its Yellow accelerator, which operates under the direction of Mike Su. The roster includes several AR companies, including Loco Adventures and Frame.

Microsoft Starts Registrations for Closed Beta of Minecraft Earth AR Game

The long tease that is the release of Minecraft Earth continues, this time with an opportunity to start playing what might be one of the hottest augmented reality games ever, before the general public.

As promised back in May, Microsoft has opened up its closed beta program for those interested in signing up and diving into the world of Minecraft Earth as soon as possible.

Keep reading to find out what Minecraft Earth looks like and how to join in the early access version of the game...

REALITY BITES: Ubiquity6 is now ready to allow early access to its AR cloud platform. Creators and artists can sign up for consideration through the company's website.

'Stranger Things' Sinks Its Teeth into Google Lens to Promote New Season

The promotions around last week's release of Stranger Things 3 have been numerous, with Netflix at one point even taking over an entire baseball field via augmented reality.

Now, after fans have had a week to binge the show, Google has teamed up with The New York Times to deliver yet another AR treat involving the series, this time coming straight from the pages of the print edition of the newspaper.

Read further to see how Google is using augmented reality to tie old media with new computer vision magic to promote the zeitgeist-capturing series...

Image via Google

REALITY BITES: With AR walking navigation available in Google Maps via Pixel devices and select alpha testers, some new AR superpowers may be coming to the app soon. Google Maps AR design team lead Rachel Inman is currently looking for user experience designers with experience in Unity and AR applications for a "rad" project. "We're looking to push things even further and need your help!" she said in a recent tweet.

Marvel's AR Special Effects Provide Peek into Future of AR

Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has been a dominant force at the box office, raking in more than $21 billion dollars.

And while those films have earned a reputation for massive, effects-driven epics laced with humor — a seemingly unbeatable box office formula — there's a supporting player that has helped drive the narrative for most of those movies: augmented reality. From the advanced technology of Iron Man to the cosmic computers of the Guardians of the Galaxy, augmented reality has contributed to the sense of wonder and awe that the movies inject into their audiences.

Now, as Spider-Man: Far from Home officially brings the Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a close, we take a look back at the 23 films from Marvel Studios and how augmented reality has served as the sidekick to its superheroes. So, suffice to say, spoilers abound...

REALITY BITES: According to the Motley Fool Podcast, there are a pair of publicly traded companies that Joe and Jane day trader should invest in. Hint: One rhymes with Snapple. Another hint: The other is more surprising, but has been covered in the past by Next Reality. The podcast also explores why investors should bank on augmented reality and which industries augmented reality is impacting now.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Microsoft/Minecraft Earth

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