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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.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
Tag: ARKit


Top Rated Comments

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19 months ago

The controllers on the Oculus are so much lighter and more natural. But for political reasons the device not being supported by ARKit.

Nope.
The Rift isn't supported because the CEO of Oculus decided not to support Apple products and instead trashed the Mac.
Other companies chose to embrace Apple, so now they will prosper.

As the old saying goes, "you reap what you sow", so I don't pity Oculus.


Shame Apple don't make any computers that are good enough to power such a headset.

They do, as shown at the WWDC this year.
Rating: 8 Votes
19 months ago
I said it once before and repeat it here, Apple has something up their sleeve, probably something major, like AR in Apple Maps.
Mark my words.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 months ago
Very cool! Definitely excited about this.

Next step is Apple VR glasses, it has to be.


I can't even IMAGINE what the delay on those will be. Apple can't keep AirPods in stock, 12.9" iPad Pros and I'm sure there will be delays with HomePod and of course the new iPhone. Apple Watch had its share of shortages too.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 months ago

I'm pretty sure there is zero support for Oculus on a Mac, so I'm sure there's a (very powerful) PC hidden there somewhere.


Can confirm Oculus Rift works in the SteamVR beta with a eGPU Developer's Kit connected to a Mac running High Sierra beta.
Rating: 6 Votes
19 months ago

A lot of fun applications are ahead of us, but I still don't see this becoming mainstream as long as you have to put a headset on.


This becoming mainstream is dependant on if the experience you get is worth the friction involved in getting it. No one wants to wake up early in a Canadian winter, scrape off the car, and drive for two hours, but my wife does it over and over again because the experience of skiing is so enjoyable to her. The experience is worth the friction.

Two things are happening at the same time: The tech components for AR & VR are shrinking and the experiences are becoming better. The reason I believe Apple has such a great shot at this is because they have expertise in so many of the remaining friction points. They have retail outlets so people will be able to try the experiences, they are masters of "thinning" form factors and making great looking hardware, and they have a huge ecosystem of developers to create great content. If the headset (glasses) are small enough and the experiences are awesome enough, I think enough people will give it a go to encourage further development. That will mean experiences will continue to get better and components will continue to shrink.
Rating: 5 Votes
19 months ago
All i saw was her wearing adiletten and tennis socks
Rating: 3 Votes
19 months ago

The controllers on the Oculus are so much lighter and more natural. But for political reasons the device not being supported by ARKit.

Not true. Up until the ARKit announcement a few weeks ago, Apple hardware wasn't really optimized for any VR. Apple has announced new hardware and demonstrated it with Vive hardware so they are actively looking to partner with VR hardware makers at this point since they do not have a VR headset ready for developers yet. It's only been a few weeks since the Apple announcements so it's not fair to assume that Oculus won't change their stance in the next weeks or months.
Rating: 3 Votes
19 months ago

In the end can someone explain to me what the practical purposes of this technology will be? Besides games, the most obvious ones are first person shooter types, training, military remote applications and entertainment what do these VR technologies do for us?

Isn't actually participating in reality more enjoyable than some virtual thing?

I guess it's kind of like all the "friend" people have via their Facebook pages.


Imagine a classroom where all the students have iPads, as well as the teacher, whose iPad serves as a "master" for the linked student iPads. The class is currently studying the American Revolution, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the crossing of the Delaware... and the teacher uses an app on the iPad to call up the appropriate scene in AR on a table in the room, or a section of the floor. While the teacher is talking about key events and people, the students see the same scene on their iPads, with the ability to walk around or even through the scene, able to get closer to specific points of interest which, in addition to playing out in real time (unless the teacher pauses to focus on a detail), have additional "pop-up" informational windows with other details of note.

Or what about biology classes where, instead of dissecting a live frog or what have you, the students have an iPad sort of suspended above the "operating table" and use virtual scalpels and other instruments to dissect a virtual frog?

Or studying world studies, where you can take a virtual tour inside the classroom, perhaps even just on your desk, of faraway places you might be studying, witnessing the culture, the people, the landscape, the architecture.

As the spouse of a teacher, I can tell you that the scenarios described above would be adopted without hesitation.


The only thing limiting the usefulness of the technology is the imaginations of those designing for it and the willingness of those it's designed for to make use of it... Sadly, every time one of these articles is posted, I'm reminded of how little "we" are willing to look beyond our daily norm and see the possibilities of things we don't yet have. People complain that there's nothing new or innovative in tech, and then when something innovative comes along, people complain that they see little to no application for it.
Rating: 3 Votes
19 months ago

I said it once before and repeat it here, Apple has something up their sleeve, probably something major, like AR in Apple Maps.
Mark my words.

I've had similar thoughts. Apple likes playing the long game, and often seems to introduce features or platforms that are like sleeper cells, massive potential being put in place for later activation on a huge scale.

Exciting stuff.
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The Oculus Touch offer more natural use than the big joystick/dildo controllers of the Vive.

Political reasons between people at the top. But I believe the problematic CEO of Oculus had left and they will develop drivers for Macs if the hardware for VR exists. This was stated in fact last year as you all may remember.

GTK, thnx!
Rating: 2 Votes
19 months ago
That is cool and all. But what would really impress me if that character looked just like me, and I could send him to work for me every day doing all my work, while I bask in the sun by the pool or beach all day.

;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
Rating: 2 Votes

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