Apple joins Snapchat cloning craze with Clips

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Dive Brief:

  • Apple announced a new video editing app called Clips in a company blog post Tuesday. Clips allows users to overlay augmented reality filters, speech bubbles, emojis and even music onto pictures and video in a manner similar to Snapchat.

  • Clips’ “breakthrough feature” is called Live Titles, which generates animated text and captions for media using only voice commands, according to Apple. Punctuation and inline emojis can then be added and adjusted to the captions by tapping devices’ screens.
  • Gene Munster, a veteran Apple analyst, suggested to CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” program that Clips is not a Snapchat competitor, however, as the app doesn’t have a built-in social network. Instead, Clips videos and images are intended to be shared on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook or through Apple’s own Messages feature. The app automatically recommends shares based on who appears in videos or who the user shares content with most frequently. 

Dive Insight:

AR certainly appears to have caught Apple’s eye of late, with CEO Tim Cook suggesting that the technology could be as revolutionary as the iPhone was when it first launched. Industry analysis backs up that prediction: In December, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast that shipments of AR-ready headsets will reach 15 million over the next three years.

“AR may just be on track to create a shift in computing significant enough to rival the smartphone,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement at the time. “However, the technology is still in its infancy and has a long runway ahead before reaching mass adoption.”

In the “Squawk” interview, Munster similarly suggested that “the future of computing” will shift focus to AR; the program also addressed that Apple is rumored to be working on some sort of glasses wearable that might compete against Snap’s own Spectacles hardware.

Snap is likely sweating the proliferation of copycat apps that continue to pop up following its initial public offering of stock at the beginning of the month. While some competitor platforms like Instagram Stories have appeared to take a big bite out of Snapchat’s user base, Clips might arrive as less of a direct threat — though still an app to keep a close watch on, as AR is an area that makes sense for Snap to invest in now that it’s more flush with cash for research and development.

For marketers, AR applications are fairly rudimentary at the moment, with the most popular use cases found in Snapchat’s Sponsored Lenses or games that can tie to real-world locations like Pokemon Go. However, as the technology evolves, it has the potential to revolutionize sectors like retail, allowing consumers to scan and visualize products both in-store and at home.

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