Companies have been aggressively pursuing technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for the past couple of years. However, despite their constant efforts, these fields are yet to reach a mainstream phase where almost everyone is using them for something. Either they are constrained by the requirement of special equipment or deliver a wanting experience otherwise. Apple aims to push one of these into the hands of millions and it’s doing so with ARKit.

early glimpses of apple's augmented reality platform are very impressive - apple arkit heade
Image: CNBC

ARKit is an augmented reality platform which comes integrated with the upcoming eleventh update of iOS. Like every other implementation, ARKit allows you to superimpose virtual 3D objects into the real world. Planning to buy furniture? Point your phone’s camera at the spot and see how it goes with the rest of the decor before purchasing. Minecraft world in your living room? Sure, why not. However, apps built using ARKit function are capable of functioning without any sort of special hardware unlike, for instance, Google Tango.

Third-party developers have been able to achieve this before with apps like Pokemon Go. But with native APIs, Apple has made the process much more coherent and straightforward. Anyone can now leverage these interfaces and create their own AR app without any hassles. We are already seeing a range of stupendous tools being produced based on ARKit. One of these is a utility that accurately measures distances, another that lets you play space invaders in the real world or how about landing a SpaceX rocket in your backyard? Or watching a bedtime story come to life in your kid’s bedroom? The possibilities are endless here because of how simple it is to use. You can find more on this @madewithARKit Twitter profile.

Once everyone realizes how substantial AR can be for everything from gaming to education, your phone will take a huge step into the future because ARKit works in the present. Google Tango is great as well but how much development have you seen with it recently? The project was almost absent from this year’s Google I/O and only a couple of manufacturers have released a compatible device which is not particularly fit to be your primary smartphone. Microsoft’s take on adding Augmented Reality to Windows 10 isn’t very different from ARKit, however, it’s still isn’t as portable and convenient as doing it on a smartphone.

Apple has been known for bringing booming technologies into mainstream products. It did so with fingerprint scanners, NFC payments and now, it’s the era of augmented reality. The iOS 11 update will publicly roll out this fall for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation.

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