Apple CEO Tim Cook is downright giddy about augmented reality. And the world is about to see why.
While virtual reality headsets from Oculus and others have yet to go mainstream, hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads in circulation are an iOS update away from morphing into consoles that bridge the real world and the imaginary one.
On Apple's latest earnings call, Cook said AR has "broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven't even thought of."
Apple's big bet is on ARKit, the company's homegrown technology for enabling developers to build AR apps. The software is among the most anticipated features of iOS 11, which is likely to be available this month, and you can expect to see some splashy use cases for the technology at Apple's iPhone event on Sept. 12, in Cupertino.
For game developers, who will surely be some of the earliest adopters of ARKit, a new challenge awaits -- advertising.
Mobile ads are annoying in general. But it's particularly hard to imagine playing an AR game in a multidimensional world and being interrupted by a video, interstitial or pop-up ad. Nor do existing ad types work for developers who want to promote a game in another app.
You have to experience AR for it to make sense.
"Showing a video of someone playing an AR app doesn't tell a story," said Jonathan Zweig, a longtime entrepreneur in ad-tech and the CEO of AppOnboard.