Aug 30, 2017

The next battlefront in Google vs Apple

AMC

The smartphone wars aren't over. The fight has just shifted from what's inside the phone to what new things the phone can do. One of the key showdowns is over augmented reality — mixing the virtual and real worlds. And once again, it's a battle between Apple and Google, both of which are trying to pitch their mobile operating systems as the best place for AR content.

Why it matters: This will be a billion-dollar battle between two of the largest companies on Earth and the results will define the next generation of smartphones. (Oh, and Facebook is involved, too...)

Google has been trying things out in this area for a few years now with its Project Tango, an effort that used phones and tablets with multiple cameras and sensors to deliver AR capabilities. The problem is that there are few apps and even fewer devices that support Tango, making it more a lens into the future than a viable commercial effort.

Apple's ARKit, by contrast, took things from niche to mainstream overnight. Because it works on all phones running iOS 11, Apple instantly created a giant market of hundreds of millions of devices capable of running AR apps.

That put the pressure back on Google to offer up a more mainstream approach, and on Tuesday Google offered up just that. Much like Apple's ARKit, Google's ARCore relies on just the standard camera and sensors in a smartphone and is therefore capable of running on far more devices. Google's challenge will be to test and certify ARCore with as many leading Android devices as possible.

What's cooking: Axios had a chance to check out several iPhone apps designed to launch with iOS 11 next month. The apps included the kinds of things that typically get highlighted with AR, uses such as gaming, education and visualization apps, such as Ikea Place, which lets people try out sofas and coffee tables in their own living room before making a purchase.

Everyone wins?: Apple's ARKit certainly appears to have the head start, especially in terms of developer attention. But there is a case to be made that having an Android option will further accelerate the pace of apps and that could be good for consumers and app creators alike.

Don't forget Facebook: Facebook isn't a big player in AR yet, but owns Oculus and has talked about the importance of mixing the virtual and real worlds.

The bottom line: For now it's hard to measure the financial impact to Apple and Google since this works with the smartphone people already own. But it does give people a reason to upgrade to the latest and greatest and is a step on the road to augmented reality glasses. Truly consumer-grade specs are probably a year or two off but could be the next big thing in consumer hardware.

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World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

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