Apple Jumps Into AR With ARKit on Millions Of iPhones and iPads

by Jamie Feltham • June 5th, 2017

It wasn’t a matter of if Apple would get involved with augmented reality so much as when. That day is today.

At a press conference today Apple unveiled its first AR implementation coming to the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system, iOS 11. The company introduced ARKit, a brand new platform that showcased some incredible impressive AR tech. For starters, the company showcased how spatial recognition could be used to place virtual objects in real world locations, much like we’ve seen on Google’s Tango platform.

Take a look at the platform below. Impressively, a virtual lamp casts dynamic lighting that will react to the cup of coffee being projected here when it’s moved.

This is made possible through the cameras, GPUs and CPUs on “hundreds of millions” of iPhones and iPads, Apple said, which will make ARKit “the biggest AR platform” pretty much overnight. The platform will support Unity and Unreal engines.

Following that reveal, we saw some quick demos of new experiences built with ARKit. There was a look at Pokemon Go with the kind of depth and accuracy fans have long been waiting for from the game, as well as a new experience from a studio from Peter Jackson. Scenes boasted incredible stability and fidelity.

Though Apple seems to be embracing VR headsets at today’s conference too, there was no news on a potential device that could turn an iPhone into a headset of its own. Such a kit might bring ARKit close to something like a HoloLens. Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed plenty of interest in AR before, so perhaps such a device could be on the horizon.

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