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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  • NooYawker

    I’m not a big believer of AR on the phone. It makes for fun photos. AR glasses will eventually, yes many years down the road, replace the smartphone.

    • Justos

      Everything starts with the camera. Perfect the software, then the hardware will eventually be ready.

    • Jack H

      I think we’ll see phone AR a lot for properly registered photos and other content from extended social media platforms/ “Snapchat+FourSquare”

      • lovethetech

        Another BAD AR Implementation for phones & tablets.AR sucks . AR is pure Gimmicky on these devices. I did not expect “lipstick on a pig AR roll out” from Apple. This kind of AR are there at least for 5 years. Apple even bought the company a . few years back.

        Sadly milking the iPhone for AR.

        I was expecting much more and disappointed. Have to hold on to my ideas another year or jump to tango or HoloLens

  • Adam Finch

    So if this compatible with ipad is all done through a single camera right? That’s some incredible real time SLAM

    • Jack H

      Yes, it’s RGB mono SLAM.

    • lovethetech

      This is like ARTool kit. nothing new.

  • Jack H

    It seems from the coffee .gif above that very little movement is need to register the initial map.

  • So, the same of Facebook Camera 🙂