On Tuesday morning, Apple introduced Clips, a video-editing app for iPhone and iPad that lets iOS users create and share videos.
Users can opt to share videos with people through Apple's Messages app, or share to a video-centric social network, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Clips is Apple's first true native iOS video-editing experience, and likely builds on and borrows from Apple's deep history in video-editing software garnered from its desktop-first products iMovie and Final Cut Pro. The app will be available for free in the iOS App Store sometime in April. Apple has no plans to launch the app on Android.
This move is likely partly in response to the success competing companies have had in creating consumer-friendly video- and photo-editing tools that have fun and transformative features like augmented reality (AR) filters and voice-changing capabilities. Apple's Clips app is imbued with its own trifecta of artificial intelligence and AR components:
- Image recognition: The app automatically recognizes friends’ faces and, when sharing through Messages, can suggest who to share with based on the people in the video.
- Natural language processing: The app introduced Live Titles, an innovative voice-to-text feature that supports 36 languages, making it possible for users to create animated captions and titles for their content using just their voice.
- AR: Clips leverages AR and computer vision to apply certain filters, stickers, and images onto videos and photos.
Although Clips’ interface has several similarities with other social apps, Apple is not directly competing with Snapchat or Instagram with this product. That’s because Clips doesn’t have any inherently “social” aspects built into it, making the app useful for creating content but not for sharing it or viewing others' content.
Still, Clips could help the company on two key fronts:
- To shore up against the threat of Facebook and Snapchat. Video and image sharing is becoming an increasingly important and sticky part of chat apps, keeping users engaged within their respective apps. By making it possible to share content across multiple platforms, Clips is likely an effort by Apple to wrestle users away from other social apps and to maintain the relevance of iMessage.
- As a testing ground for upcoming AR-enabled devices. On numerous occasions, Apple CEO Tim Cook has emphasized the company’s interest in AR, taken by some as an indication that the iPhone 8 will be heavily integrated with AR tech, like phones that use Google’s Tango. However, Tango devices have been largely underwhelming, clunky, and lacking content. Apple could be using Clips to test pain points for iPhone users before it integrates AR technology into its next device.
The virtual reality (VR) market has made significant strides throughout 2016.
New VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive debuted amid great consumer anticipation, while VR content launches kept pace, with Batman: Arkham VR and Chair In A Room garnering encouraging download totals.
At the same time, industry groups and conferences brought developers, investors, and content producers together, helping to further ramp up buzz in this nascent space.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, forecasts shipments of VR headsets to spike by 1047% year-over-year (YoY) to 8.2 million in 2016. This growth will help propel the virtual reality space to exceed $1 billion in revenue for the first time, according to research by Deloitte. Powering that growth is an estimated 271% increase in investment in AR (augmented reality) and VR companies from 2015, according to estimates from CB Insights.
But while 2016 has indeed been an important year for the VR market, it hasn’t necessarily been a big one — at least not compared to its future growth potential.
VR headset shipments will continue to grow in the years ahead, driven by the introduction of new content that will appeal to a broad swath of users.
Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on virtual reality that explores the highly fragmented and volatile VR market that emerged in 2016, lays out the future growth potential in numerous key VR hardware categories as driven by major VR platforms, and examines consumer sentiment and developer excitement for VR, presenting which headset categories and platforms are most poised for success in the near- to mid-term.