Sometime after September 12, when Apple unveils the iPhone 8, the company also will release OS 11 — and just like that, a half billion of us will not only be looking at our devices while we stomp around, we’ll also be able to view the world through them.

You can blame augmented reality, which superimposes computer graphics and data onto the environs, for this ever-more obnoxious, mobile-user behavior. Or, blame Apple, which in June gave to its developers ARKit, a software framework to create new and cool apps in anticipation of the upcoming iOS release.

Apple’s ARKit…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. — Ina Fried, writing in Axios

Blame whatever you want, but prepare to see more and more people walking around on the street, looking distracted, as they peer through their phones like portholes into their own reality. Apple’s release will mark the moment the great AR war gets underway and, says long-time mobile-industry observer Ina Fried, whoever wins “will define the next generation of smartphones.”

Last week, the tech press got a peek at some of the more interesting apps into which companies as diverse as Ikea (here’s how our furniture will look in your living room!) and AMC (here’s how our zombies will look in your living room!) are putting the new technology to work. Games, cooking, kids’ books — the Apple presser showed off some tantalizing stuff, piquing anticipation for the upcoming phone.

While all iPhones that can upgrade to iOS 11 will be AR compatible, you can assume that the newest model, the 10th anniversary edition, will do it best. Fast Company reported that Apple’s been working on a super-zowie, rear-facing 3D laser, for instance, which will more precisely place items in one’s field of vision, making the AR experience that much more realistic.

It’s not just Apple that’s betting on AR, of course. Google, Samsung, Microsoft, even Facebook via its Oculus headset are squaring off in the AR market. The Guardian figures that AR is “the next big battleground between the titans of the smartphone industry.”

In fact, Mashable asserts that Apple is “already winning the AR wars,” though Bloomberg reports that Google just struck back last week with ARCore, an Android framework that overcomes some of the technical challenges that stalled augmented reality’s uptake on that operating system’s diverse hardware ecosystem. And Microsoft? Just the other day it announced an update to Windows 10 that will support AR and VR devices, though Ars Technica says it seems to be eating everyone else’s virtual, laser-guided 3D dust.

Read more at A Medium Corporation.