Apple’s top secret AR headset is not yet available, but Magic Leap One has shipped its AR system to developers to create products. Via Magic Leap

Investment Analysts Look to Apple for AR Development

Augmented Reality will be the next big thing for Apple, according to a report by CBInsights, which predicted the company’s development of new AR tech will outstrip that of voice, cars or AI.

“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone,” Tim Cook has said. “I think AR is that big, it’s huge.”

The main use of AR is escapism, games and entertainment, but it also has practical uses in creating a visual overlay of a street map for providing information. Recently it was touted in a smart glasses to help surgeons do their jobs better. Cook said it was much less isolating than VR.

Bloomberg News reported that Apple invested in an AR headset that it believes will be the replacement for the smartphone. The technology should be ready by 2019 and shipped by 2020. As far as entertainment, it would allow multiple player games to be shared. The company plans to release an ARKit on iOS 11 for developers to create content for the headset this year, according to . Currently the company is testing its development on an HTC Vive VR headset.

CBInsights noted that Facebook has invested in VR instead of AR, spending $2 billion on Oculus, the headset company, which may not have been the smartest investment, depending on how the hardware evolves.

CB Insights based its prediction that AR will be a game changer for many companies based on its analysis of corporate earnings calls, at which many companies have mentioned plans to invest in AR. Apple’s executives mentioned AR nine times in calls since 2016.

Apple discussed AR tech that includes headsets, connected car software, transformative healthcare devices and apps, smart home tech and new machine learning apps.