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Augmented Reality with Apple ARKit 2

13.06.2018 09:12

Apple is serious about augmented reality (AR). Tim Cook has made clear how important the topic is, stating that it will change the way we use technology forever. With the ARKit in iOS 11, Apple has brought AR capabilities to hundreds of millions of phones. We wrote about the development last year 

For the release of our new whitepaper on augmented and virtual reality (VR), we have highlighted a major update in augmented reality.

With iOS 12 and the ARKit 2, Apple now provides developers with advanced features such as 3D object recognition, continual experiences, and shared AR spaces.

What’s new with the ARKit 2?

Only one year after the launch of ARKit with iOS 11, Apple has updated to ARKit 2. Here's an overview of what's new:

  • Improved facial recognition – This is self-explanatory.
  • Realistic rendering – The rendering of augmented reality objects should be significantly improved.
  • 3D object recognition – ARKit already recognises flat rectangular objects such as posters or book covers, but with ARKit 2, developers can recognise complete 3D objects.
  • Continual experiences – You can store AR spaces and items associated with physical objects (such as toys) or physical spaces (such as classrooms) allowing you to continue where you left off later.
  • Shared experiences – Multiple users can utilise their iOS devices to view the same virtual environment from their own point of view. Apple released a block multiplayer game as a code demo, and Lego demonstrated a virtual game space where up to four players can simultaneously interact with both a virtual and physical game room. 

The impressive Lego demo used almost all the new features of ARKit 2: 3D object recognition, multiplayer capability, and continual experiences.


Measurement apps

Following the launch of ARKit, a flood of measurement apps quickly hit the market. This included apps for the virtual measurement of lengths, volumes, room sizes, and more. Apple now has its own model with an app simply named "Measure". With "Measure" you can measure real objects linearly along all three axes. "Measure" looks like a simplified, reliable version of the many AR measurement apps available. It can also perform linear measurements on 3D objects to quickly calculate the volume. It detects rectangular objects automatically – just point at a poster, photo or table, and tap to get a variety of measurements.



Supported devices

Apple ARKit 2 will be available this fall as part of a software update for iPhone 6s and up, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, and iPad 6th generation.

Our take at IQ mobile

Apple CEO Tim Cook has already stated that he prefers AR over VR because it allows users to remain present in the real world while improving it. His point of view is understandable and highlights just how much Apple grapples with the user viewpoint. VR is defined by fading out what is around you to fully immerse yourself in a digitally rendered realm.

ARKit 2 provides a digital real-world extension that allows users to interact with other people, both IRL ("in real life") and in AR.

Apple is supposedly working on the development of AR glasses and presumably also has a Apple VR headset with AR capabilities in the works.

Just how Apple plans to reconcile the differences between the two technologies remains to be seen. What we can say with certainty is: Apple clearly values the social interaction capabilities promised by AR, as this characteristic is clearly at the forefront of their innovative thinking.

You can get a general overview of the possibilities offered by AR and VR here >>

Customer interaction can actually be measured in virtual worlds. Find out how here >>

Finally, our latest whitepaper on augmented and virtual reality, with an overview of relevant hardware and software, as well as many practical examples, is available for download here >> (German only)


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