Two years after the original "Force Friday" launched in celebration of new toys and gadgets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney is now gearing up for "Force Friday II," which will see the launch of new merchandise centered on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Force Friday II will run September 1 through September 3, with toys being sold at Apple, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and more (via Reuters).
The items that will be at Apple retail locations have not yet been specified, but for the original Force Friday one of the most popular gadgets was Sphero's iPhone-controlled BB-8 droid, so there's a chance fans could see a similar toy launch next week. Force Friday II officially begins at 12:01 a.m. PT on Sept. 1, with more than 20,000 retail locations in 30 countries joining in on the Star Wars merchandise celebration, ahead of the debut of Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December.
Further enhancing the toy hunt this year is a new augmented reality experience for fans shopping during Force Friday II. Anyone who downloads the official Star Wars app for iOS [Direct Link] or Android devices will be able to scan select retail standees that have a "Find the Force" logo printed on them. When scanned, fans will activate and unlock various Star Wars characters, which they can then take pictures and videos with, post on social media, and unlock that character's data chip.
The more data chips collected, the more users will earn exclusive digital rewards, including Star Wars video clips and character emoji. Disney has shared a full list of retailers [PDF] that will have Find the Force AR logos for fans to interact with, and even some websites will have the logo for those who do their Force Friday II shopping online. Although Apple will be selling some Star Wars toys for the event, the company isn't listed as a retailer participating in the AR scavenger hunt.
Augmented reality has become an increasingly popular trend over the past year, and is expected to see an uptick in usage on iPhone devices running iOS 11 this fall, thanks to Apple's ARKit. The new developer platform allows developers to create iOS apps with advanced augmented reality features using the built-in camera, processors, and motion sensors found in iPhone and iPad. Ahead of the public launch of iOS 11, we've already seen some pretty interesting proof-of-concept demos for the technology, including AR apps for turn-by-turn directions, measuring tape, and furniture placement.