When iOS 11 comes out, hundreds of millions of devices will support ARKit. iPhones and iPads that are already in the wild will become augmented reality platforms.
With ARKit, Apple is giving developers the basic framework that they can build on top of. In some ways, this is similar to when the App Store was launched. We’re about to see a whole new category of apps emerge. For App Store, it was about touchscreen apps, for ARKit, it’s about augmented reality.
iOS 11 isn’t out yet but we’re already seeing developers create awesome demos using the technology. I’m personally really excited to see what kind of fun and useful things ARKit will enable.
What is ARKit?
ARKit is Apple’s developer framework that does most of the heavy lifting for the developer. Apple uses the device’s camera, the processor, and other sensors to analyze the space around you. It can automatically identify horizontal surfaces and can let users place objects on flat surfaces that stick there. Apple also handles things like shadows and tracking as the user moves the camera.
This means that each developer doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel every single time. They can use Apple’s base layer and build on top of it. Just like the App Store, ARKit lets developers focus on creating new, novel and interesting use cases for the technology.
iOS devices that use the A9 and A10 processors can run ARKit apps. Which means iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, 9.7 inch iPad (2017), 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro and 12.9 inch iPad Pros support the feature.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the ARKit demos that are already in the wild.
1. Apple Maps Flyover View
So.. Apple put an awesome VR mode in Apple Maps (powered by ARKit) and didn’t even talk about it in the Keynote ? Wow pic.twitter.com/2ZBBXj4NYM
— Felix Lapalme (@lap_felix) June 27, 2017
In iOS 11, the Maps app has a new Flyover view. For a city that supports it, you can now fly around over the map using AR. What this means is if you pull up Flyover view and move your iPhone or iPad around, the map will move around as well.
2. Measurement Apps
We’re already seeing multiple demos for AR measurement apps. And when you think about it, of course, that makes sense.
As ARKit is able to map different positions across the camera view, apps can use the same technology to measure the distance as well. And this time it’s much more reliable.
3. Drawing in 3D
Because ARKit can map out spaces in 3 dimensions, you can now draw in 3D as well. As you move around the camera, your “drawing” will be stuck in its place.
4. Falcon9 Landing
Why wouldn’t you want to see a Falcon9 rocket land in your swimming pool?
5. Oh So Many Games
In the WWDC keynote, Apple chose to showcase ARKit using a game. And I suspect that will be a common use case for AR apps. Already, we’re seeing fun little examples of how interactive AR games could look like. Doesn’t playing Space Invaders or a shooting game in your office sound fun?
Someone has even gone on to create fidget spinner in ARKit.
Fidget spinner in ARKit pic.twitter.com/zCbvr8HOmX
— Shane ⚡️ Vitarana (@shanev) June 9, 2017
Another developer has used ARKit to turn a parking lot into a video game:
6. Performance & Interactive Arts
ARKit will enable all sorts of performance and interactive art pieces. Best thing is that it won’t take up any physical space and won’t have to go to a theater to experience this art. You can see the magic unfold right in the middle of your living room.
7. Coolest ARKit Demo
This cool demo posted by Mad With ARKit Twitter account has to be the best one we’ve seen so far created by a developer. It just gives us a glimpse of how developers can use the tools and framework in iOS 11 to create immersive experiences for the iPhone and iPad like this mind-blowing “inter-dimensional portal”.
— Made With ARKit (@madewithARKit) June 30, 2017
What kind of AR apps are you looking forward to? What’s your killer AR app idea? Share with us in the comments below.