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About time, Apple. Welcome to 2015.

This week at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple finally jumped into the augmented and virtual reality world. ARKit is Apple’s tool for making AR applications, and it was the first of several announcements that show that the iPhone company is ready to take the next step into a larger world.

AR and VR could be a market that has more than 1 billion users and $60 billion in global revenues by 2021, tech adviser Digi-Capital estimates. And in a guest post for us, DC founder Tim Merel says that Apple “took the mobile AR war to the next level” with this announcement.

And Merel’s not the only one bullish on Apple and AR.


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“With more than 130 million active iPhones in the U.S. alone and far less hardware/software fragmentation than Android, Apple’s move into AR stands to make it the largest player in the space virtually overnight. It will mint millions of new consumers for AR developers, all of whom have been shown the promise of the medium by Apple itself and are ready to see more,” says Randy Nelson of research firm Sensor Tower. “At the same time, the qualities that have made iOS the preferred platform for app developers will undoubtedly carry over to AR, so I believe Apple will make iOS the most attractive target platform possible for AR developers and content creators.”

And on the VR side, Valve says it’s bringing SteamVR to Macs. You’ll be able to play VR games on an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift — though you may need an external graphics chip solution that Apple also announced (because, let’s face it, Macs just can’t cut VR without a little help, and Apple loves selling you accessories).

All of this has made game devs excited to see what comes from this new foray from the Mac maker.

I’m not so excited about VR coming to the Mac. I want to see something better than a slap-dash cobbling together of a Mac and an external video chip. Why do that when I can buy a VR-ready PC for less than $1,000 — or just hook up a headset to my powerful gaming rig? Yeah, my Air can keep being an email and Hearthstone machine.

But AR and iOS? That’s a dream team.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Does Dean let the Wookiee win during his hands-on demo with Star Wars Holochess on an iPad Pro?

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