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Augmented reality is coming — will it finally reach construction sites?

Apple has been working on new virtual reality and/or augmented reality headsets for at least 6 years. This has been widely reported. But in typical Apple fashion, nobody knows anything about them, even though something is set to be revealed as early as this fall. I also don’t know anything about them, but I already want one. I am sure Tim Cook will get up on stage at some point and convince me that I need it immediately, so I’m trying to get ahead of that moment.

VR/AR headsets are, of course, not new. Google tried and failed. Nobody wanted to wear them besides nerds. I had a pair of Focals by North but they were far too cumbersome to use and about as comfortable as having a smartphone duct-taped to your face. Meta’s headsets currently control the market. They have about 78% market share. But the overall market remains small. It’s mostly gamers. But the same could have been said about tablets before Apple did its thing.

The promise is that these AR headsets might replace our phones as the dominant personal device. AR > VR. And that feels to me like a reasonable assumption once the requisite tech arrives. But even before that, there are a ton of great use cases for highly-functioning AR — everything from online shopping and digital fashion to finally fulfilling the dream of walking around a construction site and visualizing the design and coordination clashes.

Technically these things are already possible, but the technology remains fairly niche. I hope Apple changes that.

Full disclosure: I am long Apple.

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