Market Reality: Apple Sets Stage for AR Smartglasses, Spatial Adds Funding, & Pinterest Enters AR Makeup Game

Apple Sets Stage for AR Smartglasses, Spatial Adds Funding, & Pinterest Enters AR Makeup Game

We may or may not see Apple's long-awaited take on AR smartglasses this year, but the company is more than getting its practice swings in with its current wearables business, which hit record revenue in 2019 according to financial results released this week.

Aside from Apple's AR wearables future, investors remain interested in AR for other ventures. For example, Spatial closed a funding round this week for its AR video conferencing platform, while Phiar, a year and change after raising its own seed funding round, is preparing to launch the beta of its AR driving navigation app.

In terms of current mainstream AR experiences, Pinterest has now joined the cosmetics marketing game, while 8th Wall continues to chalk up web-based AR ad hits, the latest involving Legos.

Apple Hits $10 Billion in Revenue for Wearables & Accessories

This week's Apple earnings offered a report of solid performance and guarded optimism about future iPhone sales, which may be impacted later this year by issues around the current coronavirus epidemic in China.

But what seems to have surprised many on Wall Street are the strong results from Apple's wearables division, a result that only strengthens the logic behind Apple possibly getting into the augmented reality smartglasses game in the near future.

Continue reading to find out what Tim Cook had to say about Apple's record revenue for wearables and what it means for its future in AR wearables, then continue reading about Apple's latest effort to recruit new AR team members...

Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: Google will again have a big presence at the Game Developers Conference, and augmented reality will play a role. On March 16, the company will host a session called "Enhance the Real-World Gaming Experience" in which Google's maps and augmented reality team members will tutor attendees on adding AR to their games.

Spatial Closes $14 Million Series a Funding Round

Having emerged as one of the leading augmented reality video conferencing apps, Spatial is ready to improve upon the experience.

On Thursday, the startup announced that it has closed a $14 million funding round, bringing its total funding to $22 million to date.

Read further for more details on how Spatial will apply its funding and why it is considered the leader in a relatively new field of AR...

REALITY BITES: On the one-year anniversary of the unveiling of HoloLens 2, Microsoft is returning to the scene of its launch in a big way. While the company is unlikely to announce anything new in terms of hardware at Mobile World Congress (February 24 to 27 in Barcelona, Spain), HoloLens head Alex Kipman and a crew of 11 other Microsoft executives do have a packed agenda at the conference, including sessions on using the HoloLens 2 in art, marketing, and the telco industry.

Pinterest Joins the AR Cosmetics Marketing Field with Try on Tool

It's time to make some more room at the augmented reality cosmetics counter.

This week, social media giant Pinterest unveiled "Try On," a virtual make-up visualization tool running on its Lens visual search tool. The feature is rolling out now to US users of the Pinterest apps for iOS and Android.

Keep reading for more details on Pinterest's Try On tool and how it fits in with established AR platforms for cosmetics marketing...

Image via Pinterest

REALITY BITES: Niantic revealed that it is finally adding Adventure Sync, its background step-tracking feature originally launched for Pokémon GO and built on its Real World AR cloud platform, to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. However, to date, the wizarding world game, currently ranked number 916 among games and number 78 among adventure games on the App Store according to App Annie, has not caught on in the same way as its predecessor.

Phiar Launching Private Beta of AR Driving Navigation App in February

Google pushed a new kind of augmented reality walking navigation to the mainstream last year, and now startup Phiar is hoping users will use its AR app in the same way for driving navigation.

The company is currently inviting the public to sign up for its private beta launch, which is scheduled for the first week of February. About 25 to 50 participants will be selected in the first wave of the program.

Read further to learn how the AR navigation experience in Phiar will work and where its technology stands in the pursuit of mobile consumers and automakers...

REALITY BITES: In news that would truly confuse Marty McFly if he had taken the Delorean to 2025 instead of 2015, Atari and the GSD Group announced this week that they plan to break ground on the first Atari Hotel this year in Phoenix, Arizona, with additional hotels planned for Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose. But we aren't a real estate news site, so the real hook here is that the hotels will feature, among other things, immersive AR/VR experiences. Pac-Man GO, anyone?

Trigger & 8th Wall Assemble Web-Based AR Ad 'Lego Masters' on Fox

Lego has shipped several apps and products that add an augmented reality dimension to their playsets. But it has taken a reality TV show from Fox to allow brick fans to build with virtual bricks in augmented reality.

Just in time for National Lego Day on Tuesday, the Disney subsidiary, with assistance from creative agency Trigger and 8th Wall, published a web-based augmented reality experience to draw attention to its series Lego Masters. The show, with Lego Batman himself, Will Arnett, serving as host, premieres on Feb. 5.

Read on for more details on the Lego Masters Builder experience and how its stacks up against other Lego AR content...

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Blippar has appointed Keith Curtin as its chief commercial officer for the US. In the new role, he will be responsible for driving the growth of Blippbuilder, the company's AR creation and publishing product. Curtin is actually making a return to Blippar, where he previously served as senior vice president of business development for North America from 2013 until 2016, after a stint at competitor Zappar and at his own AR consultancy, See Digital.

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/YouTube

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