Apple Unveils ARKit For Augmented Reality

A new generation of iOS augmented reality apps are coming.

Apple is jumping firmly into the world of augmented reality. Announced during WWDC, ARKit brings AR development tools to iOS, allowing your phone’s sensors to detect things like depth, ambient light, and motion.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, claimed that with ARKit, it’s now “overnight, the largest AR platform in the world,” because of how many people own iOS devices.

On stage, Federighi showed off a simple implementation of ARKit, placing digital objects like a cup of coffee, lamp and vase that “appeared” on top of a table. Apple also showed off what the new development tool would look like with the popular AR game Pokemon Go. Apple also mentioned AR apps from IKEA and Lego.

A second demo from Wingnut AR showed how ARKit could place an entire imaginary world on top of a real-world platform on the stage. The more sophisticated demo, made in Unreal Engine, shows a complex world war taking place with spaceships and explosions. The demo is expected to be released as a game “later this year.”

In many ways, Apple is trying to keep up with competitors like Google, who already have their Tango augmented and mixed reality platform. Aside from Google, Facebook and Snapchat also are making large pushes in AR, letting you see virtual objects in the real world just by pointing your camera on your phone.

ARKit has support for Unity, Unreal Engine and Scenekit and will be coming to iPad and iPhone.

Earlier during the keynote, Apple set the stage for VR with a killer Star Wars demo on the HTC Vive.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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