When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced its new iPhone 12 line in October, one of the features included with the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max was a lidar sensor that the company said would speed up the camera’s ability to focus quickly, especially in low-light conditions. The sensor gives the new iPhones the capability to produce augmented reality (AR) videos where real-world objects can be enhanced by computer-generated effects.
On Wednesday, social media platform TikTok introduced an AR app for Apple’s new iPhones. Snap Inc.’s (NYSE: SNAP) Snapchat was first to introduce an iOS app for the lidar-enabled iPhones. Lidar, an acronym for light detection and ranging, measures the time it takes for light to reach an object and be reflected back. The principle is the same as radar, which uses radio waves for similar purposes.
In late 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook told ABC News that he comes down on the side of augmented reality over virtual reality: “There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting … But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.”
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has had its troubles. In early August, the Trump administration issued an executive order promising to block TikTok in the United States based on national security concerns. Two weeks later a federal court halted the ban. In early December, another federal judge blocked Trump’s proposed ban, saying that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s action did not consider alternatives to the ban and was, therefore, arbitrary and capricious.
Apple’s lidar sensors come from Velodyne Lidar Inc. (NASDAQ: VLDR), a maker of lidar products that came public in October in a reverse merger with blank-check company Graf International.
Here’s the tweet TikTok posted on Wednesday, both announcing and demonstrating the capability of its AR feature.
Apple stock traded up about 1.5% early Thursday, at $128.50 in a 52-week range of $53.15 to $138.79.
Velodyne traded up more than 6% to $24.11, in a post-IPO range of $10.11 to $30.81, and Snap stock traded up about 4.8%, at $52.18 in a 52-week range of $7.89 to $54.71. At its premarket price, Velodyne stock had a potential upside of nearly 16%, based on a price target of $27.80. Snap already trades almost $7 above its consensus price target of $43.49.
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