We’re about to witness a vanishing act. I was at AWE (Augmented World Expo) this year, and I had an even more distinct impression, than in previous years, that AR is about to vanish. And by vanish I mean it’s about to become invisibly present – just simply another component of user interface design. I think this because what makes AR a “thing” to be noticed is just what a clunky, inconvenient pain in the ass it is to actually use.
But that’s improving every year. It’s still a clunky pain in the ass, don’t get me wrong, and it’s likely to be a clunky pain in the ass for a little while to come. But it is improving every year. The hardware is getting faster, lighter, thinner, with better batteries — less annoying, more fun — something to use. As the technology gets more ubiquitous, it becomes more integrated into everyday experience. And as the technology gets less uncomfortable it becomes less of its own thing.
We only need a separate name for it because it’s something “other” to general experience, and as it looses its distinct separation, it loses its need for a separate name. AR will simply vanish into being a component in the way things are done.