Apple’s ARKit vs. Google’s ARCore: What Brands Need To Know
Considering the newness of Augmented Reality, even the smartest brand marketers may get confused about best practices. IPG Media Lab's Scott Elchison and Richard Yao unpack the details.
Apple and Google recently introduced their augmented reality (AR) frameworks ARKit and ARCore, respectively, to allow developers to create mobile AR experiences. The wide support of mobile AR presents an exciting opportunity for marketers. AR is no longer limited to social media apps like Snapchat; and instead a set of natively integrated tools on both iOS and Android, enabling developers to build cool, engaging applications.
Naturally, an important question that comes to mind is “Which is better for brands?”
At the moment, these two mobile AR frameworks are still very new and how they will be deployed is still largely unknown. Matt Miesnieks, a partner at Super Ventures and an AR expert, wrote an in-depth technical comparison of ARKit and ARCore. He found that ARKit has some advantages when it comes to tracking, referring to a person’s phone understanding and where it is in 3D space ARCore, by contrast, is better equipped for mapping a person’s surrounding. Yet, for the general consumer, the general performance of ARKit and ARCore are equally matched.
Looking at the hardware, Apple understands the value cameras provide and has developed the first mobile phone with a depth-sensing front camera. In addition to the camera, the iPhone X is incredibly powerful and potentially faster than a MacBook Pro. In this regard, Apple has well positioned themselves with hardware (iPhone X) and software (ARKit) for a heavy AR future. Google and ARCore, in comparison, will suffer from the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, hindering it from deliver a universally great AR experience.
Marketers like to keep a close eye on the scale and reach of digital platforms. Through this lens, it is clear that Apple has an immediate advantage over Google. On September 19th, iOS 11 became available to all iPhone users, bringing ARKit support to millions of iPhone users around the world.
Not to mention that the incredibly cute Animojis are going to help sell actual truckloads of iPhone X’s when it’s released later this year. In comparison, Google will have to get different Android devices made by various manufacturers to integrate ARCore and then push out an update, which can take several months to reach an installment base to rival that of ARKit.
While ARKit may have a slight lead over ARCore in terms of short-term reach and hardware integration, it is still too early in the AR race to declare a winner.
Takeaways for Brands
For brand marketers, now is time to start thinking about how you can best take advantage of AR as the amount of time users spend with AR is only going to increase. One simple thing that brands can do today is to produce branded 3D objects that are publicly available to developers. Developers will need 3D assets in order to create these new AR experiences. Brands can take advantage of this AR gold rush by having this 3D asset pack readily available to be used for development. Not only is there an excellent PR bonus, but brands can learn the limitations of AR and how to best position themselves in this space.
Considering the newness of AR, even the smartest brand marketers may get confused about where 3D assets can be created, hosted, and tracked for usage. Good news is, there are several AR-focused startups that are offering such solutions to brands seeking to enter augmented reality.
For example, Sketchfab is a 3D graphics marketplace for content creators to share their static and animated work. As an added bonus Sketchfab also as the ability to let brands run their branded 3D objects on Facebook as ads.
Additionally, AR and VR content creation studio 8ninths is another good option. They are experts in developing for the top gaming engines that most 3D objects are built on and offers a wide range of AR solutions for brand marketing.
For measurements and analytics, CognitiveVR is a potential partner that brands can look into. They have built a robust suite of analytical tools that can collect data on user gaze, object engagement and create custom measurements for AR experiences.
Apple’s announcement of ARKit, combined with Google’s launch of ARCore, put the kibosh on whether or not AR is just another fad. AR is here to stay and is an exciting opportunity for brands to reach their target market through the use of 3D branded objects. Smart brands should take action today to prepare for the imminent explosion of mobile AR.
*Scott Elchison: After graduating from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Marketing and love for all things technology, Scott started his career at Initiative getting schooled in the ways of broadcast television and digital media. Scott joined the Lab as our Partnership Scout, and if you want to know which companies are pushing the envelope in VR, AR, AI, or even burger flipping robots, Scott is your man. When he is not busy meeting with and vetting tech startups, you can find Scott skimboarding at the beach and listening to a few too many podcasts.
Richard Yao: From Shanghai to NYU, with an M.A. in media study, and a passion for puns is Richard Yao. You’ll find him in the Lab editing and writing original content about the intersection of technology and brand marketing. Before coming to the Lab this young wordsmith worked in audience research for CBS. Richard’s quick wit and unassuming demeanor make him exceptionally good at “Cards Against Humanity,” but he still has faith in humanity by and large.