Apple (AAPL) has appointed longtime marketing leader Frank Casanova to Senior Director, Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple Augmented Reality, according to Casanova’s LinkedIn profile. Here’s our quick take:
- Apple remains committed to AR but is likely not satisfied with its AR marketing efforts to date. While it’s been disappointing, we remain bullish on AR and bullish on Apple using its vast resources to will the theme into reality.
- We initially expected Apple’s AR marketing efforts to be a “rolling thunder,” building excitement for new applications of augmented reality on iPhone and iPad. In reality, Apple’s AR marketing efforts over the last year and a half since iOS 11 shipped have been more of a light drizzle.
- Apple has recently expanded the roles of two 30-year company veterans with Deirdre O’Brien’s promotion to Head of Retail + People and now with Casanova. It begs the question: is Apple trying to rekindle the magic of its high-growth period with leadership that has a proven track record within the company?
- There are a host of factors contributing to the slow uptake of mobile augmented reality: 1. The only VCSEL array on the iPhone is low-powered and front-facing; a world-facing VCSEL array on a future iPhone ( we expect in late 2020) will be a step change for AR. 2. There are just a few compelling AR uses cases on iOS (see below). 3. Apple has not gotten consumers excited about AR. Showcasing an AR game at WWDC once a year doesn’t cut it.
- There are some compelling use cases for AR today (see Animoji, Streem, and LEGO) and on the horizon (see Lyft and Google Maps).
Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest or may invest: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics. From time to time, we may write about companies that are in our portfolio. As managers of the portfolio, we may earn carried interest, management fees or other compensation from such portfolio.