Apple’s controversial TV+ streaming service might be getting a boost. According to a Bloomberg report, the tech giant is pondering ways to add augmented reality (AR) content to the platform. Details are scarce about what sort of content this includes.
However, it isn’t difficult to picture how users would interact with such a feature. AR could be incredibly useful for things like displaying the names of on-screen actors or looking at a show’s props compared to real-life items.
Apple reportedly planned to launch the AR feature this year but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, the wait shouldn’t be too much longer.
Since its launch last year, Apple TV+ has had its share of ups and downs. The streaming service is struggling to close the gap between itself and competitors like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Most of that is due to the fact that its content library simply can’t compete with the offerings of other platforms.
That being said, the content currently on Apple TV+ isn’t bad. Shows like “For All Mankind,” “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” and “The Morning Show” have received positive reviews from subscribers. There simply isn’t enough content to keep people interested.
Apple hopes that adding AR features to its streaming platform will help retain existing subscribers and draw in new ones. Right now, a large number of TV+ subscribers are using the extended free trial that came with the purchase of a new device.
Bloomberg reports that AR content could feature characters or objects from a show. At this point, it seems like Apple will try to position its AR content similar to a director’s commentary or behind-the-scenes footage rather than making it part of the main show.
Meanwhile, Apple hopes to use the feature to promote the rest of its AR technology. The company is rumored to be working on a pair of head-mounted AR devices. It will supposedly release an AR headset in 2022 followed by AR glasses as early as 2023. Whether or not Apple can stick to that timeline remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the company has made investments into AR with its other products. For instance, it added a LIDAR sensor to the iPad Pro earlier this year. It also plans to add LIDAR hardware to some of its upcoming iPhones.
Doing so will allow Apple’s iOS devices to take advantage of new AR features already spotted in iOS 14.
Is it Necessary?
Although Apple’s AR efforts are certainly noteworthy, many consumers wonder if they are necessary. As the technology stands right now, augmented reality isn’t ready for mainstream applications other than mobile gaming and gimmicky tricks.
It doesn’t seem realistic for Apple to change that by adding companion content to its premium streaming service. In fact, the experiment could backfire as content-hungry consumers question why Apple is spending money on AR features that no one asked for instead of funding new shows and movies.
It will be interesting to see what sort of reception Apple’s TV+ AR features receive when they arrive next year.