Apple revealed a lot of details about its impressive new ARKit platform at its event at WWDC 2017 last month, but it didn’t mention that one of its most popular apps already supports the new feature.
The latest version of Apple Maps has ARKit support built in. If you’re beta-testing iOS 11 you can check it out now, and it really looks worth your while. Maps already supported 3D viewing of cities around the world and now with ARKit you can get a much closer look at them using your iPhone as a camera. It looks very similar to Google Earth VR, the free HTC Vive and Oculus Rift app that allows you to explore certain locations across the glove. The key difference is obviously that you’re not in VR; it’s not as exciting but more people will get to see it.
Take a look at the support below. It’s quite a thing.
So.. Apple put an awesome VR mode in Apple Maps (powered by ARKit) and didn’t even talk about it in the Keynote ? Wow pic.twitter.com/2ZBBXj4NYM
— Felix Lapalme (@lap_felix) June 27, 2017
Want to try this out for yourself? Well you’ll need an iPhone 6S or higher and to be running the latest iOS 11 beta. From there, jump into Maps, enable the 3D View in Satellite mode and then tap the flyover option. You should see your city of choice appearing in the real world through your phone’s screen.
Hopefully we’ll one day be able to put an Apple headset over our eyes and see Apple Maps either in mixed or virtual reality. Apple is playing its cards close to its chest on that front right now but hopefully we’ll see something from it in the future.