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Apple Shows Off New AR Demos on iPhone 8

‘The Machines’ brings competitive AR gaming to iPhone.

While many were pumped to see a new iPhone, Watch, and Apple TV announced at Apple’s special event from the brand-new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, we’ve all been waiting to hear more about the company’s augmented and virtual reality efforts.

We’ve been keeping tabs on Apple’s rumored AR and VR efforts for years now, but it wasn’t until the company announced the developer kit of ARKit back in June that we finally got confirmation that Apple was serious about building “the largest AR platform in the world,” according Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at the time.

Today we all got a look at a handful of new augmented reality demos that show how ARKit can seriously change the way we interact with our mobile devices in the future.

Shown on stage during a highlight of ARKit apps on the new iPhone 8 coming soon to the platform, demos included a Warhammer 40,000 game, a Major League Baseball At Bat app, a Fifth Star Lab’s Sky guide, and Directive Games’ real-time multiplayer game The Machines.

Each app showed off how ARKit and an iPhone 8 can place high-fidelity visuals dynamically into the real world, all viewable through the iPhone’s camera lens. The MLB At Bat app displayed an AR overlay that included player stats and scores when fans in the stadium hold up their phones while watching a game. It’s like a baseball fans’ version of Harry Potter’s Omnioculars for viewing Quidditch matches. The Sky Guide demo showed constellations and other information overlaid on night sky.

While most were quick demos, Apple spent the most time previewing Directive Games’ real-time multiplayer game The Machines. Powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, the AR strategy game is the first competitive multiplayer game designed for AR on the iPhone.

Introduced by Atli Mar Sveinsson, CEO of Directive Games, the MOBA-inspired game showed how players are tasked with shooting at each other while trying to destroy the other’s base. The AR game screen shows your competitor on screen while fighting and makes use of spatial audio as you move around within the augmented physical environment.

In many ways, it may seem like Apple is playing catch-up with competitors like Google who’ve had their Tango augmented and mixed reality platform for years. But considering Google has only recently announced their own version of ARKit and hundreds of millions of Apple devices will be ARKit ready, Apple looks like they are well on their way to lead the AR charge.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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