The right augmented reality apps could not only make iPhones and iPads exceedingly cool again but also could make them indispensible, according to Olds.
With A.R., users could point their phone or tablet at a sign and see a translation pop up next to it. They also could point their phone down a city street and see the Yelp ratings of the restaurants and shops located there.
Point the phone up in the night sky and see the names of the stars and constellations appear.
"This is a place where Apple can leverage the fact that it builds both the device and the OS, unlike other mobile device vendors," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "A.R. involves integration with GPS, the camera and the application. Apple can make it easier for developers to make that integration."
Making it easier for third-party developers to build augmented reality apps for iOS will only help Apple's popularity and its bottom line.
And ignoring A.R. could spell trouble for Apple.
"Apple cannot ignore and needs to lead in A.R. as it is one of a handful of very important, next-generation use cases," said Moorhead. "If they did ignore it, it would give Microsoft, Google and Samsung the ability to create the industry in a way that's advantageous to them."
However, if Apple gets ahead of the game, it could be big business.
"The Pokémon craze has opened the door to the possibilities of A.R. and captured the imagination of the public," said Olds. "Apple can't ignore this and they have to take advantage of their content creation capabilities to give customers a reason to go Apple only."
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