Apple is planning to add augmented reality content as a companion to its TV Plus streaming service next year, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The AR content could be characters or objects from the show itself, which would then be overlaid onto the real-world environment via an iPhone or iPad app. Apple had originally intended to launch the feature this year, before the coronavirus pandemic delayed its plans.
Bloomberg reports that the experiences are being designed to draw in and retain subscribers, as well as promote Apple’s AR technology. The report compares it to bonus content, like a director’s commentary for a TV show or movie:
Someone watching a moon-walking scene in the Apple show “For All Mankind” might be able to see a virtual lunar rover on their device’s display, seemingly perched atop their living room coffee table.
Apple is rumored to be working on a pair of head-mounted AR-capable devices. In 2022, Bloomberg expects Apple to launch an AR-capable headset, followed by AR glasses as early as 2023. Earlier this year it added a LIDAR sensor to the iPad Pro, explicitly to improve the AR capabilities of Apple tablets. According to Bloomberg, LIDAR sensors will also be added to some of Apple’s upcoming iPhones to make the most of AR improvements already seen in beta builds of iOS 14.
Apple TV Plus launched last year, but Bloomberg notes that many of its subscribers are currently using free subscriptions that came with the purchase of new Apple devices. With the first of these trials due to expire soon, Apple appears to be exploring other avenues to keep viewers subscribing. Back in May, Bloomberg reported that Apple is also planning to introduce companion podcasts for some TV Plus shows.