Whether you are a fan of augmented reality or not, Apple’s new update is an impressive leap forward for tech. One year on since ARKit’s debut last September in iOS 11, Apple has now revealed the upgraded version, ARKit2, allowing developers to create the most innovative AR apps for the iPhone and iPad. With improved features and new experiences that can be shared by multiple users, ARKit2 is a much more powerful platform than the original ARKit and opens up the potential for a whole new world of AR.
So, What’s New?
QuickLook and USDZ: a brand-new file- format named USDZ enables easier sharing of images created in AR apps. Now meaning that AR generated images can be supported and sent over message/ mail. QuickLook also allows these same images to be placed in a real-world situation to see how something fits in a room- perfect for all those secret interior designers out there!
Persistent tracking and improved 3D detection: This one does what it says on the tin. ARKit could detect flat rectangle objects before the update, but with ARKit2, the user can pick up much more realistic 3D views.
Measure app: Users can use the Measure app to measure the dimensions of an object in AR, enabling the user to work out if something can fit in a room. The app will measure the dimensions of an object and convert it into an AR view.
Shared experiences: Arguably the most significant feature of the update; this now allows AR games/experiences to be supported in multiplayer mode- a massive step for the entertainment industry and something Apple can really dive into with innovation. Multiple players can now use their iPhone or iPad to view the same virtual game, from a real-world space, each from their own point of view, while an onlooker can also spectate from another screen. A demo of such was displayed at this year’s WWDC, Swift Shot. One of our iOS Developers, Andy, attended WWDC and demo’d Swiftshot, he commented that although he feels it is a bit novel, ‘the developments are making it more realistic; the game worked well and was great for shared experiences’.
Lego and ARKit2
An Apple and Lego collaboration would be every tech geeks dream. After this year’s WWDC that dream could become a reality! LEGO took to the stage at this year’s keynote to showcase how the new features can improve the Lego gaming experience.
With the hype of multiplayer, Lego’s Director of Innovation, Martin Sanders and his executive brought an entire Lego city to life, interacting with characters and buildings and even carrying out quests. Pointing their iPads at a real-life Lego set, the AR app brought animated figures and even cars moving across the screen. Sanders pointed out, ‘We can save our entire world back into our physical set and pick up where we left off later.’ Lego has not confirmed if the demo is the beginning of a new AR Lego world but until iOS 12 arrives in autumn, we can only hope.
There’s no denying that the potential this feature has on the future of gaming is vast- with four players being able to play on the same set from four different devices, Apple really are evolving AR into a social experience.
What does the ARKit 2 mean for businesses?
Apple has given us the tools to start incorporating AR into our daily lives, and as it becomes more popular both with your workforce and clients, they will expect to access these same experiences when interacting with you. But this is more than a fad.
The new file AR file format USDZ will have a knock-off effect on creation and sharing of 3D artwork making it potentially cheaper and standardised, helping create the foundations for it to be used on the enterprise as this process usually leads to common platforms and interfaces.
Both the improved environment detection and the measurement add another layer of enhanced functionality that can be used by developers to better add value to AR applications especially in circumstances where the user faces complex landscape and needs that extra level of detail/accuracy on their semi-virtual experiences. That means that construction, engineering and even the health industry can now benefit more from the new ARKit2.
The addition of shared AR experiences opens a new world of possibility for real-time collaboration essential on an enterprise level but also how organisations work with customers, especially crucial in support situations and educational experiences.
If you’re thinking of using AR/VR experiences within your business why not download our Expert Series on Virtual and Augmented Reality where we explore how AR and VR are being used, their potential and how should you approach it.