Is there space for spatial?
Mark Carroll is Co-Founder & Strategy Director at Make My Day, an augmented performance marketing agency – and part of the We Are Social family. With the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro, Mark discusses what this launch means for the AR space.
The Apple Vision Pro goes on sale in the US today, with a few selected tech influencers receiving the latest hardware device from Apple throughout the week further fueling the hype and debate around the success and if this will be the next game changing device. This has been promised not just to be another VR headset – but to be the tipping point of bringing spatial computing – into the consumer realm.
The launch ad, with the copy ‘Get Ready’, features a variety of iconic movie, TV and cultural references of characters putting on helmets and goggles. This was the same creative direction that launched the iPhone. Within that ad – HELLO – back in 2007, it showcased the physical devices we put to our ears and sent SMS text message form, with character limits (what a time). If you’re here more for the advertising and marketing rather than the tech, you have to appreciate a brand that’s so iconic it can reference itself. And 16 years between two of their most monumental launches, they didn’t reinvent, they repeated what worked.
At Make My Day we’ve been following the rumours, hype, rollout and reactions closely. This is a device that takes augmented reality as we know it and quite literally opens a whole new world. Beyond being ‘another VR headset’ it does feel that the Vision Pro is bringing a truly revolutionary consumer product.
A focus throughout their comms, showing the ability to create large virtual work spaces in any and all physical spaces. This focus on workplace and productivity is not just with apps, but the wider hardware ecosystem, in particular where your can mirror your Mac screen straight into a larger Spatial view. If this is as good as it looks and catches on, it could free up a lot of desk space. Open plan offices might look a little more dystopian, though.
Entertainment & Sport
The Vision Pro delivers new depths and takes the TV screens from being wall mounted to floating and scalable, optimised to any location. One of the main visuals which has been heavily used since first announced features someone wearing it while on a plane, showing how you could be going from small economy seat mounted screens to what seems like an almost IMAX scale viewing experience – you can even shut out everyone else around you.
However, not all streaming services are getting into this space early. The likes of Netflix, YouTube and Spotify have stated that they’re not currently developing apps for the headset. But Disney has made sure their content is ready at launch alongside Apple’s own premium immersive content including Prehistoric Planet and Alicia Keyes: Rehearsal room. And while there were headlines of ‘only’ around 150 native apps available at launch, which was not insignificant, Apple have now announced over 600 new apps built for AVP alongside 1 million compatible apps
., here’s a thread highlighting 10 of them.
I see big potential in sport when it comes to entertainment – it’s a category which is storming ahead in a lot of the Vision Pro concepts and demos that have been showing up over the last year. Broadcasters can dial up the available real-time data and visualise this in a spatial way, companion views or reskins of the game which can be viewed at all angles. This conceptual F1 companion view has had plenty of people excited across LinkedIn.
Memories & Communication
Experiencing memories is set to become more real than the photos and video we know currently bringing a new immersive feel. I’m yet to experience this, but Spatial Phones and Videos is one of the things I’m personally most excited about. Along with a more practical and impressive view of Panoramic photos.
And, just as we’ve gotten used to talking to each other through a screen, they’re bringing a 3D version of yourself directly to the other person is going to become more accessible. This seems to be one of the big competitive spaces, with Meta and Microsoft also investing heavily in this virtual conversation format with a variety of different approaches to real-time avatars.
So what should marketers and agencies be thinking about in this space?
This is a whole new experience, interface and way to interact with content. There’s some guidelines, but we’re in the skeuomorphic era where, for a while, things will be replicating the experience that came before but pushed into a Spatial format. Gaming is a great example – Meta Quest 3 gave a whole new spin on the classic board game with Demeo, and of course Fruit Ninja getting the spatial treatment on AVP.
If your brand isn’t in the business of productivity, entertainment, communication, sports, it’s an innovation or experimentation opportunity, more than a business one. The projections are 400,000 sales in the first year – so early movers will get talked about, but won’t be able to scale the usage. Surprise early adopter Decathlon, saw the CEO taking to LinkedIn to show off their develops for the hardware.
Some might be thinking that with the current economic climate with budgets constraints, who has time or space for spatial?
Well, we’ve seen a surge in people exploring faux augmented reality through CGI and Fake OOH – not spatial in the truest form, but that’s all good practice for spatial creativity. AR has evolved over the last decade, and accelerated rapidly in accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness over the two years, becoming the second largest growing ad format behind mobile video.
The idea of brands and AR marketing is something that perhaps Snapchat once owned as one of the first to build out a branded AR advertising ecosystem, but Meta and TikTok are bringing all new behaviours and opportunities at scale too. The introduction of spatial computing software development and UI designed from some of the world’s smartest people will start to inspire a whole new set of opportunities and use cases on the spatial small screen, and vice versa.
Apple is right (it’s rarely wrong) – we need to get ready for spatial. For some, this could mean simply getting some headsets and playing around in your brand or agency. For others who are further down their innovation journey, it could be building more spatial experiences for brands. One thing is for sure – your audience’s physical and digital worlds will merge closer and closer over the next year. Make sure you’re not left behind.