Apple has officially unveiled the iPhone X.

CEO Tim Cook stated the device is “the future of the smartphone,” and it’s clear the iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) offers the most significant update to the iPhone family in years, with edge-to-edge OLED display, facial recognition capabilities and an aptitude for augmented reality. 

As has been the pattern in the past, the ripple effect from Apple advancements reach just about every industry, including travel and hospitality.

Here are three ways the iPhone X will change travel forever.

Augmented reality (AR) will become mainstream

Augmented reality – the ability to view and interact with virtual items overlaid in the real world on screen – is about to go mainstream.

The iPhone X, along with the forthcoming iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, are the first iPhone devices specifically designed for AR. Earlier this year, Apple unveiled ARKit, a new framework that allows developers to design AR apps for iOS 11, the operating system update available on September 19.

As a result, iOS will be the largest AR-capable platform in the world.

With AR capabilities soon in the hands of hundreds of millions of travelers, hospitality innovators will introduce new ways to offer guests property information, assistance and location-specific content on demand.

From the way hotel restaurants display their menu, to real-time language translation of signage, to wayfinding, to AR-guided tours of property gardens and grounds, the potential for enhancing the guest experience is virtually limitless.

Facial recognition will hit hotels 

The iPhone X offers Face ID, facial recognition technology made possible because of its TrueDepth camera system. 

In the way Touch ID evolved how iPhone users interact with their device in a secure manner, Face ID takes authentication to the next level. While the advancements will simplify and expedite how we take selfies and unlock our device, they’ll also update how hoteliers interact with guests.

Face ID works not only with Apple Pay, but with third-party apps, which will enable new user experiences between travelers and tech-forward hospitality brands. Hotels will integrate facial recognition into their own proprietary apps, changing the way guests make reservations, access their room, authenticate payments at outlets, even check in and check out.

Mobile engagement will surge

Travelers are already using their mobile devices to research, book, document and rate their hotel experience en masse. The iPhone is already the most popular smartphone in the world.

With the release of the new iPhone models, analysts are expecting record-shattering sales, with some suggesting that Apple may see as many as 241.5 million iPhone shipments in the 12 months following the iPhone 8 launch.

The new devices boast a higher water resistance rating than predecessors (perfect for poolside, waterslides and beach outings), an improved camera (more, better selfies and social sharing), wireless charging capabilities and a longer battery life for the all-day/all-night adventurer.

With new phones come new apps that take advantage of advancements in technology. The forthcoming swell of innovative applications, and subsequent mobile engagement, will offer fresh ways for brands to interact with travelers on a level unlike we’ve ever seen.

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Tom Dibble

Published 13 September, 2017 by Tom Dibble

Tom Dibble is the founder & CEO of Screen Pilot and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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