Apple TV Plus is adding augmented reality content next year that could superimpose characters or objects from the streaming service's show over the real-world environment. With rumors of Apple AR glasses and the recent news that an Apple VR headset is in the works, it seems like the company is betting big on bringing those technologies to the masses.
Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports that Apple is planning to add AR companion content to its library of originals. They would be bonus features, much like a director commentary, that came with a movie or TV show and accessed from the Apple TV app on the iPhone or iPad.
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"For example, someone watching a moon-walking scene in the Apple show For All Mankind might be able to see a virtual lunar rover on their device’s display, seemingly perched atop their living room coffee table," Bloomberg's report explains.
The AR content is expected to roll out next year, though Apple reportedly intended to debut it this fall. However, the coronavirus pandemic halted both software development and film production, leading to the delay. And Bloomberg notes that Apple could end up scrapping the project altogether.
Even so, augmented reality is a key focus for Apple. Earlier this year, the company added a LiDAR sensor to the iPad Pro 2020, which improves augmented reality experiences and apps. The iPhone 12 is rumored to be getting LiDAR, as well.
Apple Glasses have been all but confirmed and could debut as early as next year. And in addition to the augmented reality classes, Apple is reportedly developing a VR headset with advanced features and ultra-high-resolution screens for 2022.
As far as the AR content for Apple TV Plus, if it does roll out this fall, it could be a way to entice new users to sign up or existing ones to re-up. The streaming service launched last fall, and many users are still on the free, one-year trial subscription included with the purchase of an Apple product. The first of these trial accounts will expire November 1.
Apple is trying out other methods to attract and retain subscribers, including creating podcasts for its top shows and offering a deal bundle with CBS All-Access and Showtime. And Apple TV Plus would be included in the rumored Apple One services bundle tipped to launch this fall with the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch 6.