Market Reality: Tim Cook Tops NR30 Mobile AR Leaders, Magic Leap Expands, & Snap Exec Departs

Tim Cook Tops NR30 Mobile AR Leaders, Magic Leap Expands, & Snap Exec Departs

Cited by many listed on this year's NR30 list as the most important event in the last 12 months, last year's release of ARKit catapulted Apple CEO Tim Cook to the top of Next Reality's rankings. This week, we dug deeper by explaining why he's at the top of the list of NR30 Mobile AR leaders.

Alongside the launch of 2018's iPhone lineup on Wednesday, where Apple showcased several AR apps and features, the company also revealed that iOS 12 and ARKit 2.0 will arrive on Sept. 17. The release date also marks the one-year anniversary of ARKit's initial release, the platform that has changed the landscape of mobile AR.

Also, following the release of the Magic Leap One, Magic Leap continues to work toward its next-generation release, adding another research and development lab in Europe. However, other companies working in AR didn't fare so well this week, as a tumultuous Monday brought news of executive shake-ups at Snap and Lampix, as well as funding troubles at Meta Company.

NR30: Meet the Leaders of Mobile AR

Image via Next Reality

In just 12 months, we've seen mobile AR grow at a breakneck pace.

Since Apple launched its AR toolkit, users have downloaded more than 13 million ARKit apps from the App Store, not including existing apps updated with ARKit capabilities. Google retired the Tango project but followed Apple's lead by rolling out a platform with even more capabilities than ARKit 1.0 — ARCore.

Among social media, Snapchat has expanded on its AR platform with developer tools and more advanced capabilities while extending the AR experiences to advertisement and e-commerce features. Facebook followed suit, duplicating Snapchat's AR features at every turn.

House Mobile reigns over the AR kingdom, and here are the lords that we owe allegiance to in 2018...

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: The New York Times has enthusiastically embraced augmented reality as a new means for storytelling and journalism, finding its way into the NR30 as a result. Ramona Harrison, an Android software engineer at the Times, gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at the publisher's approach to integrating AR into its mobile app for iOS and Android, and some of the development challenges her and her colleagues encounter.

Apple's iPhone Launch Features NBA's Steve Nash & Multiplayer AR Galaga Game

On Wednesday, as expected, Apple unveiled the next generation of iPhones, namely the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max along with the more affordable iPhone XR, each equipped with a TrueDepth sensor.

Alongside the iPhone launch, CEO Tim Cook and company demonstrated what these new devices, equipped with iOS 12 and ARKit 2.0, can do for augmented reality apps.

Continue reading to see the AR apps that have captured Apple's interest, then read further to see how Apple has teamed up with Verizon to give away the iPhone XS to 150 Snapchat users in an AR scavenger hunt...

Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: Between Pokémon GO-style location-based gaming and persistent content of AR cloud platforms, real world locations will continue to be a critical component of AR as the technology evolves. Morgane Santos, a Unity engineer at Mapbox, reveals the development secrets to building AR experiences at world scale.

Magic Leap Expands Research Footprint to Europe

Facing mixed reviews for the Magic Leap One, Magic Leap has already returned to the lab to improve on the device's successor.

On Monday, in a bid to facilitate further innovation and spread its physical footprint, Magic Leap revealed a new Center of Excellence in Lausanne, Switzerland, which will expand the company's overall research and development capacity.

Read on to learn more about the work the facility will conduct, as well as the AR magic being crafted at Magic Leap's Seattle location...

Image by Magic Leap/YouTube

REALITY BITES: As technology evolves, sometimes the same names involved with older technologies pop again with emerging technology. For instance, while he's best known nowadays for SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk was also a co-founder of PayPal. While not a household name like Musk, Henry Copeland has a long history of building advertising platforms and content management systems for online news publishers, and now he's working on similar solutions for AR.

Key Execs at Snap, Lampix Depart & Meta Suffers Setback

In an SEC filing published on Monday, Snap, the company behind Snapchat, disclosed that Imran Khan, its chief strategy officer and a member of the NR30, is leaving the company to "pursue other opportunities." Coincidentally, another NR30 member, Gordon Meyer, has also left his position as vice president of product and marketing at AR startup Lampix. Lampix confirmed his departure via email, although no reason was cited for the parting of ways.

Also, after a $20 million funding round fell through, augmented reality headset maker Meta Company has been forced to furlough (or place on temporary leave of absence) approximately 65% of its workforce for 30 days.

Read on to learn more about the departures of Khan and Meyer, and find out why Meta's funding round is in jeopardy and how the company plans to reverse its fortunes...

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.

Cover image via Apple

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