With Apple (AAPL) leaping into the realm of augmented reality, the global AR market could generate $60 billion in global sales from one billion users by 2021, advisory firm Digi-Capital reports.
Apple launched its ARKit set of tools for augmented reality developers at its WWDC conference in San Jose on Monday. The iPhone maker joins Facebook (FB) , Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google and other tech behemoths that are battling for position in AR.
Shares of the company gained 52 cents, or 0.34%, to close at $54.45 on Tuesday, as the conference entered its second day.
Apple's AR presentation, which featured a demo by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson's Wingnut AR studio, has earned rave reviews.
Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster suggested in a report that AR will eventual replace the smart phone, and that Apple's announcement Monday makes it the leading player in the field. "ARKit instantly creates a multi-100m user base for AR developers overnight, which compares to Google's Tango platform which we believe has well under 10 million users," Munster wrote.
Pointing to the scope of Apple's opportunity, Digi-Capital noted the company's success at convincing users to adopt the latest software. The firm noted that 86% of the 700 million iPhones in use are running iOS 10. "That's a pretty compelling prospect for the rollout of ARkit," Digi-Capital founder Tim Merel wrote.
Digi-Capital noted that Facebook can introduce its AR platform to its 1.2 billion monthly users of Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as the 700 million people who use Instagram monthly. "Facebook knows what it's doing when migrating users to new features," Merel wrote.
For its part, Google has launched its Tango AR platform and the Google Lens app, while Microsoft (MSFT) is developing augmented reality glasses. And Chinese internet giant Alibaba (BABA) has invested in projects such as the augmented reality car navigation outfit WayRay.
Digi-Capital sees mobile carriers generating about a quarter of AR revenues.
E-commerce will account for more than 20%, the firm estimates, while advertising will take more than 10% of the AR dollars. Non-gaming consumer apps, games and business-to-business applications will each account for about 10% of sales, according to Digi-Capital.
Augmented reality was not the only point of focus at WWDC. Apple also demonstrated a revived commitment to high-end iMacs, a new iPad Pro and other products, as Real Money reports. Get a free trial subscription to Real Money.