Apple’s ARKit vs. Google’s ARCore

What Brands Need To Know

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 to marketers, as AR is finally no longer limited to social media apps like Snapchat, but instead a set of natively integrated tools on both iOS and Android that developers can tap to build cool, engaging applications.

Naturally, the top question that comes to mind is “Which is better for brands?”

At the moment, these two mobile AR frameworks in question are both very new and how they will be deployed is still largely unknown. Matt Miesnieks, a partner at Super Ventures and AR expert, wrote an in-depth technical breakdown/comparison of the two, and he concluded that they each have their own strengths. ARKit has some advantages when it comes to tracking, referring to a person’s phone understanding where it is in 3D space, whereas ARCore is better equipped for mapping a person’s surrounding as well as more reliable tracking recovery. On a platform level, whether one is better than the other comes down to personal preference and the developer’s goals.That said, for the everyday consumer, the general performance of ARKit and ARCore are equally matched.

For the everyday 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 a bit from the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, hindering it from deliver a universally great AR experience.

In addition, we 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 truck loads of iPhone X when it comes out 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 will take at least several months to reach an installment base to rival that of ARKit.

All things considered, ARKit may have a slight edge over ARCore, but it is still too early in the AR race to declare a winner.

So, all things considered, 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 AR has and how to best position themselves in this space.

Brands can take advantage of this AR gold rush by creating a 3D asset pack readily available to be used for immersive media.

Considering the newness of AR, even the smartest brand marketers may get confused about where can these 3D assets be created, hosted, and tracked for usage. Good new is, there are several AR-focused startups that the Lab has vetted and interviewed 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.

Smart brands should take action today to prepare for the imminent explosion of mobile AR.

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.

If you want to learn more about our AR partners, or figure out the right AR strategy for your clients, please reach out to our Client Services Director Ben (Ben@ipglab.com).


An edited version of this post was first published on GeoMarketing on Oct. 2, 2017