Article Emerging technology

The lightweight micro-apps primed for Apple Glass?

Categories: Emerging technology
Posted 28 July 2020

In June 2020, Apple announced the advent of app clips, a micro-app experience that lets a user utilise a small portion of your app, without making them install it first.

By allowing people to use a subset of your application’s features without download, you remove the friction that is always at play when you expect a user to 1) Download the full application, 2) Submit personal details and 3) Create an account.

Whilst app clips are essentially the Apple version of Android’s Instant Apps, which were announced back in 2017 (and which didn’t really make many waves). The key difference seems to be the potential relationship that app clips might have with the much anticipated Apple Glass. So, let’s find out more.

Apple Glass – The disruptor for wearable computing?

Apple Glass is widely touted as being the first genuine mass-market foray into futuristic AR-powered optical computing.

They are expected to look like a pair of run-of-the-mill spectacles, run on Starboard or GlassOS and potentially feature interchangeable arms that both look different and carry out different functions.

However, outside of the rumoured micro-app functionality, we actually know very little. The people in the know, think they know. But what they know seems to be sparse at best.

Apple Glass – Potential launch date and price point

There are mixed reports on prospective release dates, with industry commentators penning suggestions ranging from May 2021 through to Q3 2023, it is safe to say that nobody really knows.

When it comes to pricing, it ranges from the optimistically low through to the absorbently expensive as you might expect. According to Jon Prosser, they will retail at $499, plus your prescription fee, which seems low for an Apple product and when compared to an AR headset like the Hololens 2 (which retails at $3,500).

Other industry commentators have suggested prices in the range from $899 – $1,600, which if you already have an iPhone and an Apple Watch is yet another serious investment.

App Clips & Apple Glass – What are the rumours?

App clips are QR-code and NFC-enabled to launch experiences from real-world locations with a tap or a scan. However, these micro-apps are made to work with AR too, which has led many to believe that you will be able to unlock interactions with app clips ‘at a glance’ when Apple Glasses appear.

This has fuelled the internet rumour mill with many looking to the lidar scanner on the latest iPad pro and putting two and two together.

At one end, commentators are saying how genius it is that they are empowering companies and developers to create the infrastructure now for when Apple Glass actually launches… and at the other end they are saying… wait, what if scanning real-world objects referenced against a machine learning database could generate real-time, real-world searches based on you looking at physical things?

Either way, it is clear that micro-app experiences and app clips are good for the user regardless of the hardware that is engaging with it.

Here at Waracle, we believe that mobile is the imperative. The devices we have all habituated ourselves too aren’t going anywhere regardless of how good the Apple Glass may be, so whilst it is a lot of fun to speculate, we know that the next ‘once in a generation’ hardware shift is going to have to work incredibly hard to de-throne mobile.