Apple Users' Mixed Reality Future Teased in Latest ARKit Demo
Developers have wasted no time testing the limits of Apple's new ARKit platform, as each passing week serves up tantalizing previews of what's possible on an iPhone or iPad now that developers can quickly and easily build augmented reality experiences into their apps.
The latest demo to raise the bar comes courtesy of New York-based virtual reality developer Normal VR and offers a sneak peek at what's potentially in store for anyone with an iOS device, an iMac, and a VR headset.
The video clip, recorded on a 10-inch iPad Pro, shows the company using ARKit and the Unity game engine to capture the physical movements of a VR artist and project her virtual painting onto the real world via the mimicking actions of a digital avatar. The interaction also appears to be two-way, with scaling and repositioning functions controlled by the external viewer using iPad gestures.
It's unknown whether the HTC Vive is connected to a Mac or linked to some other supporting machine, but either way the potential uses for such a setup could be pretty far-reaching.
We already know Apple's latest top-of-the-line iMacs will include VR headset support out of the box once High Sierra gets its final release. Steam game platform creator Valve has also developed a version of its SteamVR software development kit for Mac, offering Apple users the same 360-degree, room-scale tracking as the Windows and Linux variants, with the added bonus of Oculus Rift support.
If ARKit-wielding developers can create apps that allow VR content to be viewed and interacted with outside of a headset, cross-platform Apple users could be looking at an exciting future of shared mixed reality experiences.
The first apps powered by ARKit are set to launch on the new-look App Store alongside iOS 11 this fall.