2019 will probably be remember for the birth of WebAR, a set of API (mostly developed and pushed by Google) that would allow any content on the web to be used for augmentation. There are already, of course, several software developers experimenting with WebAR although the official release is expected in September 2019. The more optimistic observers are betting on a massive uptake in 2020. Not sure if that will be the case but if it is not going to be 2020 it won’t be much further down the lane.
Today we have two main API sets to support applications to leverage on AR: ARKit and ARCore (one for IOS, the other for Android). The difference with WebAR is that this latter will be tied to the content and any web browser will be able to know how to manage that content to deliver augmented reality. You no longer need a specialised app.
You are in a city? Well, through your browser you can access hundreds of web sites with content related to that city and many with content related to the particular place you happen to be at that time. This content may be rendered in ways to overlap with the physical world around you, augmenting it with specific information. Since it is web browser based you can use any device, smartphone, tablet, glass as long as it supports a web browser and is able to provide location data to match the content to the physical space.
I suspect WebAR will be a game changer in Augmented Reality since it will provide an avalanche of content. It may be expected the the visualisation of such content will not be polished in the beginning but give it a few months and content providers will rush to make sure it fits nicely in the new way of fruition.
Indeed, AR, as I have pointed out in previous posts, is becoming a most effective way to make advertisement more engaging and to add value to any product. I have no doubt that in a few years user manuals will become embedded in the product. You have a new washing machine at home. Just look at and you will get the info you need to operate it just by aiming your smartphone to the various knobs, most likely with some little video clips showing you how to operate the machine.