Augmented Reality will spark the next big tech platform

“The mirrorworld doesn’t yet fully exist, but it is coming. Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld,” Kevin Kelly writes for Wired. “For now, only tiny patches of the mirrorworld are visible through AR headsets. Piece by piece, these virtual fragments are being stitched together to form a shared, persistent place that will parallel the real world.”

“The author Jorge Luis Borges imagined a map exactly the same size as the territory it represented. “In time,” Borges wrote, ‘the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it,'” Kelly writes. “We are now building such a 1:1 map of almost unimaginable scope, and this world will become the next great digital platform.”

“The mirrorworld—a term first popularized by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter—will reflect not just what something looks like but its context, meaning, and function. We will interact with it, manipulate it, and experience it like we do the real world,” Kelly writes. “At first, the mirrorworld will appear to us as a high-resolution stratum of information overlaying the real world. We might see a virtual name tag hovering in front of people we previously met. Perhaps a blue arrow showing us the right place to turn a corner. Or helpful annotations anchored to places of interest… These examples are trivial and elementary, equivalent to our earliest, lame guesses of what the internet would be, just after it was born—fledgling Compu­Serve, early AOL. The real value of this work will emerge from the trillion unexpected combinations of all these primitive elements.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And Apple will be the company to deliver the mirrorworld, via Apple Glasses, followed thereafter by gaggle of knock off peddlers for the less discerning, as usual.

Someday, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll look back at holding up slabs of metal and glass to access AR as unbelievably quaint. — MacDailyNews, July 28, 2017

The impact of augmented reality cannot be overstated. It will be a paradigm shift larger than the iPhone and the half-assed clones it begat. — MacDailyNews, August 4, 2017

Augmented Reality is going to change everything.MacDailyNews, July 21, 2017

TGIF!!! Interns, beloved interns, TTK! Hoist, everyone, and prost!

Apple taps iPhone exec Casanova to be first head of marketing for augmented reality – February 12, 2019
Apple working on new iPhones with powerful 3-D camera and laser scanner in augmented reality push – January 30, 2019
Apple patent reveals ongoing work on micro-LED displays for holographic imagery – November 9, 2018
What’s happening with Apple’s secret augmented reality glasses project? – November 8, 2018
Apple’s Akonia acquisition points towards ‘Apple glasses’ – August 30, 2018
Apple buys Akonia Holographics, a startup focused on lenses for AR glasses – August 30, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Glasses coming in 2020 – August 15, 2018
Gene Munster: Apple will release Apple Glasses late in 2021 – May 17, 2018
Apple patent application reveals work on eye-tracking technology for VR and AR headsets – April 27, 2018
Apple prepping Micro-LED displays for Apple Watch and Smartglasses for 2019, sources say – April 3, 2018
Apple CEO Cook on the future of fashion, shopping, and AR smartglasses – October 11, 2017
Apple’s AR smartglasses – understanding the issues – August 29, 2017
Bernstein: Apple’s ‘smartglasses’ opportunity ‘could be enormous’ – August 25, 2017
Apple working on several prototypes of AR glasses – August 4, 2017
Apple’s next big move: Augmented reality – August 3, 2017
Apple’s rumored new glasses will be an even bigger deal than the iPhone – July 28, 2017
Apple smart glasses are inevitable – July 28, 2017


  1. All these assumes somebody will do all that coding.
    But people only do stuff if there’s money in it.
    So where’s the profit for making this “high-resolution stratum of information” ? The expenses going to be sky high.

    I remember iBeacons touted as the next big thing, that shops etc will set up iBeacons to give information to iPhones but practically nobody did it as the expense wasn’t worth it.

    It took so long for shops to even commit to smart card readers etc at checkouts in spite of the clear profit potential (reducing wait times and thus tellers) .

    Stuff like “Tags on Everybody” will run into all kinds of privacy issues. (How do you ‘tag’ somebody unless you have the persons data like biometrics etc)

    Since Tim Cook gushed about AR/VR years ago, for Apple it has gone like iBeacons practically nowhere.

    1. IMO.. a bit of a rush to judgment.

      Tim also said that the technology for the full and ideal implementation of this does not yet exist and it will take a few years to develop.
      From what i gather.. we are looking at 2020+ to see this blooming.

      1. As an investor i actually hope you are right.
        i remember a few years back I was happily telling a few people about Apple’s AR/VR push.

        But as time went on , pondering it (see post below), doubts of easy takeoff faded.

        I see theoretical examples in videos etc of people wearing AR glasses and the whole world is digitalized and tagged — then I ask ‘who is going to pay for all that digitalizing? ‘

        ‘Holo’ lenses etc work for military etc which have astronomical budgets and ‘life and death’ needs but for consumers where retailers might have 5% profit margins ? (Like I said even iBeacon tech was too costly for them).

        and no one is going to wear glasses unless the tech is widespread. So it’s chicken and egg situation.

        As an aapl investor I will be very very happy if someone can convincingly tell me the cost/ earning etc of this technology that will make it take off.

        1. Well I can see your point but I only agree with it in terms of timescale rather than fact. The Internet itself and especially the www came about despite no obvious monetarisation, just a vision and lateral thinking based on scientific ‘fiddling’ originally. On a smaller scale YouTube has taken over a decade to make any real sense from a monetary point of view. I remember 25 years ago (and theoretically a lot further back) being told that robotics/computers would take all our jobs. Everyone laughed when that failed to materialise yet we are clearly in the Stone Age now of this actually happening probably some 40 to 50 years after that first failure.

          Exactly the same is happening to Internet shopping, its first steps many, many years back were called a death knell for the high street then we all forgot about it laughed at Amazons lack of profitability, till now we see all those claims we dismissed are coming true. These things just take a lot longer and often multiple attempts to become reality. Hell, driverless cars which we are told will be the norm in 5 years will be the next example of this process. Electric cars have been laughed at for about 70 years with various attempts to make them mainstream from at least the 60s yet in 20 years finally they will be the predominant vehical in most advanced countries.

          So to write these things off because they are not immediately mainstream or affordable, even logical, or the means to do so isn’t obvious is wrong. Even twenty years ago the thought of anyone but a few mostly Government sponsored countries could fund a space launcher capability would be laughed at. Now in this country as elsewhere private start ups can do it, we will soon have a space facility with both the launcher and satellites built to use it at no great cost and created by relatively small barely known companies with only a little State help. Costs and the technology they relate to, change and become much more attainable even if it takes 50 years. A little company now owned by Google no one had heard of 5 years ago is producing AI solutions beyond what people thought possible in this time frame.

          So augmented reality will become massive but it may take many years and many attempts to make it happen, it’s all a massive learning curve to get the vision, technology and finances right and of course the customer base to exploit it. And iBeacons will be a success one day in some form IF stores and other related entities remain relevant in our society at all and its factors like that where the marketplace changes that decide the success or otherwise of tech of this nature. Stores are fighting to survive at all so iBeacons is far from a priority, though it could be useful in their survival ironically as its a bridge to the very thing that is destroying them. Of course the move overall is towards the very platform that can fully exploit AR ie the Internet, so I think as things stand that particular technology has a very bright future as far ahead as anyone can see and eventually exploit. It’s the timescale involved.

    2. to elaborate:
      as the article says “For the mirrorworld to come fully online, we don’t just need everything to have a digital twin; we also need to build a 3D model of physical reality”

      This is expensive. The examples he gives are of specialized factories etc where it is worth their while to build 3D models to troubleshoot, for training etc.

      (Note Apple unfortunately is not very good at dealing with businesses especially with niche areas. Look at servers and Mac Pro etc. Under cook it aims for wide consumer use. )

      Putting consumer stuff out like the writer’s other example ‘park benches’ etc is different from niche commercial applications. Are strapped city governments going to pay for digitalizing info for those benches ? (Note for this to work you have to have extensive implementation not just a few items digitalized or the gear to view it won’t be worth it).

      Games might be the only place for now for a clear positive consumer revenue argument.

      1. In AR, building a 3d model of the whole real physical wirld is not necessary or the objective.
        Its more about mixing digital information with real physical reality.
        This digital information can be text /images overlaid .. and/or 3d virtual objects inserted in a virtual space that corresponds with the real spatial orientation of the observer..
        And beyond.

        The only time the whole of the real, physical world needs to be modeled in 3d would be when a virtual environment of the physical reality is needed … and that is more along the lines of virtual reality VR applications than AR.

        As for cost of acquiring and preparing the data/digital assets .. we already have quite a bit that we interact with through our 2d screens.

        AR is just a paradigm shift in interaction with that information.. which is only going to get more robust/ better , incrementally, as time goes by.

        I dont see the cost of assets as an issue.
        Creative use, implementation and codeing is where the real work and challenge is..Imo

        1. you and spyin make some valid points but note my original post was critiquing the articles version which is way more elaborate that the limited use you are describing. (I’m very clear in my first paragraph)

          The articles view is closer to what the fantasy demo videos of Google Glass and other similar used to show where when you wear VR glasses (as MDN’s various takes on Apple Glasses) the whole world is lit up with tags as the article says ” We might see a virtual name tag hovering in front of people we previously met. Perhaps a blue arrow showing us the right place to turn a corner. Or helpful annotations anchored to places of interest” and “park benches” etc tagged.

          I’m saying for such elaborate implementation as the article describes I can’t see cost benefit anytime soon. IBeacons floundered because the benefits for implementation was too high.

          Limited use and very gradual VR adoption is of course possible and I mentioned the bright spot being games .

          For the progress of technology of course anything is possible if your time frame is very long.

  2. Think of it like car radio. Or the in car entertainment/navigation system everyone has now. Yes it will happen, but it will just quietly merge with existing technology until people don’t ever remember it not being there.

    AR isn’t a foundation technology. Its simply going to be a new aspect of existing technology.

  3. My 2 cent armchair thoughts:

    I believe that Apple should keep their hands in AR/VR (it might eventually be big but a lot longer time frame than people expect)

    What I think Apple should be focusing more on though is:

    Their core eco system of products:

    iPhone, Mac, iPad
    (Update them regularly and market them. Practically zero Mac marketing)
    They are all monster cash generating machines, most of the tech like iOS, MacOs is there and they are the foundation for the future.

    Then tie this all up with networking (like what Bezos is doing buying EERO ) so that you can wire the home, the office and the factory. Abandoning AirPort was not wise.

    A key component to tie ti all up will be A.I.
    A.I is the real game changer.

    Besides driving A.I apps on iPhone etc now it will be (more so) the cornerstone of home automation, industrial automation etc and also for robots, drones and vehicles.

    Robot lawnmowers to robot bulldozers, buses , all kind of industrial machines and consumer machines. There will be mining robots and those dealing with elderly care, space exploration etc. A.I will be doing basic administration etc.

    Who rules A.I and the networking of them will make out big.
    (Here i can see clear Profit Potential and why third parties would want to invest ). Some say it will be 50 times bigger than profits in the silicon chip.
    (That’s why it was so crazy that Cue fell asleep during SIRI meetings).

    Other stuff like HomePods, TV even the Watch and all the content stuff like movies while important are adjuncts to the ‘core’. As well as AR/VR.

    If you don’t control the core, accessories like Watch and services will flounder. Not to mention your foundation for the future will be weakened.

    Apple should have a Robotics and Drones division to work with the A.I being developed with the car.
    I think buying EERO and building all those factory robots is part of Bezos long term plan. He can see where the future is going to be.

    Without the Mac is really hard to create the ‘A.I brains of the future’ both hardware and software (it’s even hard to create AR software ) . The Mac is key that Bezos etc don’t have and Apple is neglecting it away like AirPorts. (look at updates and how they didn’t care about the Mac’s 35th anniversary)

    Instead we got bunches of emojis, furniture, glass doors and a big push for content like TV. (TV is not bad but it’s not the core).

    Just 2 cents.

    1. I totally agree with you.
      Bezos is onto something and obviously contemplating something other than the messy online retail biz. He is thinking strategically and drawing the image of the future Amazon in his head, and actually executing required steps one by one. Both Bezos and Musk have an ability to dream wildly but also to actually execute and materialize them.
      Apple’s problem is that viewing from my armchair, I cannot see where they are heading to, and I am sure if Tim Cook does not know. Everything so far has been reactionary. Bezos obviously saw the need for the networking technology as one of the mandatory ones for his next step, whatever it might be, while Apple had thrown it away. Bezos already secured the solid Cloud biz. He also built a very competitive and useful home networking H/W and S/W and a voice control business. His move appears to be very strategic and organic. Apple? Today is on the iPhone, and tomorrow might be on health or streaming service? You never know. I always thought that Tim lacks the depth of technical knowledge. If, for the sake of the argument, a person like Craig Federighi might take over the CEO (let’s set aside his management ability for now), he will have absolutely no problem whatsoever to understand what Amazon might be up to and come up with some idea to lead Apple into the next decade. In the meantime, Apple is hard at work to defend the price of the iPhone, neglecting and shedding many things Apple has been building up to date.

      1. man, you said it well

        The really amazing thing was that Bezos came in from behind. He actually started as a bookstore , then grocery store (!) while Cook inherited a sophisticated tech company with super high pedigree of decades in both software and hardware. Even SIRI which Apple bought at the time was way ahead and yet they seem to be squandering their lead. Bezos had to buy a wifi company, Apple neglected theirs to death etc.

        no, I don’t think Apple is ‘doomed’ but it sure seems they’re mentally scattered ( I doubt anyone can clearly articulate their future strategy. Services is just monetizing their current tech))

  4. Just like the internet now, the so-called “mirror world” will be more of the same but expanded and more intrusive, needing another NSA, call it NSA2, to collect that VR/AR data and, of course, dominated by the corporation, proprietized, but super addictive because a person — maybe even an animal — will be able to lose him/herself in it. The military will love to exploit it to its fullest for its wars. It will be the braver new world. People who grow up with it will think nothing of its seductive nature to do bad. I hope it will do good.

  5. Not bloody likely. It adds extra layers to things that are already very easy to do, I personally think it’s an even bigger red herring than VR. Technology is only useful when it simplifies, makes things easier; Silicon Valley of the past 15 years has done its level best to over complicate things (I personslly feel that is the millennial factor at work, but that’s a separate conversation). I have played around with AR, but I’ve never once fired it up for real world use, it doesn’t add anything useful. This is another case of the millennial dictum, ‘In five years. . .’. Sorry guys, but you just aren’t terribly ingenius or forward thinking most of the time, at your worst you are just retreading.

    At best, this will be relegated to entertainment like 3D or VR before the novelty wears off and it fizzles out again. It’s a non-starter.

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