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Hands-On With Apple's 'ARKit' Augmented Reality Demo for Developers

With iOS 11, Apple is delving into augmented reality in a big way, introducing an ARKit development platform that will allow developers to quickly and easily build augmented reality experiences into their apps and games.

ARKit is positioned to be the largest AR platform in the world when it launches this fall, using the camera, processors, and motion sensors in the iPhone and iPad to create some incredibly impressive augmented reality interactions.

While we won't see the first augmented reality apps and games built on ARKit for a couple of months, Apple has an ARKit demo app to show off what ARKit can do. We went hands-on with the demo to give MacRumors readers just a small taste of what to expect.

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ARKit uses technology called Visual Inertial Odometry to track the world around an iPad or iPhone, allowing a device to sense how it moves in a room. ARKit automatically analyzes a room's layout, detecting horizontal planes like tables and floors, which then allows virtual objects to be placed upon those surfaces.

With ARKit able to place any virtual object within a physical room, developers can create all kinds of unique experiences, and developers have already released several demos showing what might be possible.

Apple already has at least one major retailer on board to use ARKit -- IKEA. IKEA is developing a new augmented reality app built on ARKit that will let customers preview IKEA products in their own homes before making a purchase. IKEA has offered augmented reality functionality for a few years now, but the company says Apple's new platform will much improve the experience. With ARKit available, IKEA says augmented reality will now "play a key role" in new product lines.

For additional details on other developer tools and features coming in iOS 11, make sure to check out our full iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses
Tag: ARKit


Top Rated Comments

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25 months ago
It's one of these technologies where you just know there will amazing use cases and applications all over the place, but it's pretty hard to imagine many specific examples.
Rating: 7 Votes
25 months ago
AR was always the dream. I knew Apple would nail it. From game interaction to customising home design and using the camera to view and find out information about the world around you.AR really is the next step in technology. VR has its place for games and entertainment but AR is a tool for every day life.
Rating: 5 Votes
25 months ago
This is the next gold rush.
Rating: 4 Votes
25 months ago

The technology is cool, but nothing practical that convinces me to spend $800 on a head set.


You're confusing VR (Virtual Reality, headsets) with AR (Augmented Reality, adding to the image on your screen).
Rating: 4 Votes
25 months ago

Does anyone know how to get this demo? Is it on the developer portal? I can't seem to find it.

The code is available under "Resources" of this WWDC ARKit video...

https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/602/
Rating: 3 Votes
25 months ago
DRAM is going to limit the number and complexity of objects loaded along with a newer GPU required for decent performance. I can see needing the 2017 iPad Pros with 4GB DRAM and GPUs to have a positive experience.
Rating: 3 Votes
25 months ago

DRAM is going to limit the number and complexity of objects loaded along with a newer GPU required for decent performance. I can see needing the 2017 iPad Pros with 4GB DRAM and GPUs to have a positive experience.


Isn't Apple making their own custom GPU's for the iPhone 8 though? Maybe that's just powerful enough? And maybe they'll up the RAM to 4GB like the new iPad, you never know. This would be a good excuse for it. I don't know if the former is correct though so apologies if it isn't.
Rating: 2 Votes
25 months ago
Can't wait for integration in maps. Being a tourist will never be the same.
Rating: 2 Votes
25 months ago
If the camera could track a tool, or even your hand, such that you could interact with virtual objects that way, that would be neat.

That is, pick up the cup, turn the cup, or push it off the table
Rating: 1 Votes
25 months ago

It's one of these technologies where you just know there will amazing use cases and applications all over the place, but it's pretty hard to imagine many specific examples.


It certainly looks intriguing. One thought that comes to mind is that it might be pretty interesting if there were some sort of ARKit 'server' function for sharing AR worlds such that different users could simultaneously see and interact with the same AR world from different perspectives on different devices. (Please forgive my ignorance if it is already known to have such a capability.)
Rating: 1 Votes

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