Could Apple’s mixed-reality push lead to end of the iPhone?

We’ve heard of Virtual Reality (VR), and some might even know about the term Augmented Reality (AR). But, the future will be one where something called Mixed Reality (MR) holds sway over the technological landscape, and will eventually replace the one tech product that people have probably had more interaction with than any other over the last decade: the iPhone.

That’s the view of  Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray who covers Apple, and one of Wall Street’s premier watchers of the iPhone maker. In a research note Tuesday, Munster said that a series of recent moves by Apple suggest that the company is taking a long-term approach to ease into a world where the iPhone could become obsolete.

“In the next 5-10 years,” Munster wrote, “we expect Apple to release a mixed reality headset with the long term goal (15+ years) of replacing the iPhone.”

Mixed Reality is seen as an extension of Augmented Reality technology. The concept involves mixing real and virtual worlds in situations where digital objects can be used and manipulated at the same time as real ones.

Munster said several moves by Apple, dating from the company’s 2013 acquisition of  computer vision company PimeSense, for $345 million, and including the January hiring of 3D interface expert Doug Bowman from Virginia Tech, show Apple is building up its research arsenal in MR development. Munster said that by 2018, he expects Apple to add VR to its Made For iPhone/iPad program, which will make it easier for developers to build VR peripherals that can be used with the iPhone. Munster said that step should lead to MR headsets with the capabilities to replace the iPhone in the next 15 years.

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the iPhone 6s during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California on September 9, 2015. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)


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  • Sue Ilwk

    Useless article. All this guy Crum did was to repeat what Gene Munster already said.
    Copycat journalism. IMO