Augmented reality is about to go mainstream – meet the next big thing: Apple’s ARKit, which ships inside iOS 11
With iOS 11, expected to ship to the public next month, Apple has built in a massive new framework that is going to bring augmented reality to the masses. I’m talking about iOS 11’s ARKit.
If all that sounds like a bit of techno gibberish to you, then Apple’s official description of ARKit might not make things much clearer. Here’s how Apple describes it: “iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways.” Yeah, that doesn’t help much, does it? That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to explain in plain English what ARKit is, what it does, and how it benefits you. Here’s everything you need to know:
By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways.” Yeah, that doesn’t help much, does it? That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to explain in plain English what ARKit is, what it does, and how it benefits you. Here’s everything you need to know:
What Is ARKit?
At its most basic level ARKit is a developer framework, or a set of developer tools and services, that allows developers of apps and games to write software that will allow their apps and games to easily use Apple’s in-house developed AR tech to create great augmented reality experiences.
So Is ARKit An App?
Not really. And in fact, you won’t see any kind of dedicated ARKit app on your device in iOS 11. Instead, ARKit runs inside of apps that are built with it in iOS 11. The way you “interact” with it is by using the app as it’s been developed. In other words, an app using ARKit will have amazing augmented reality features that you just touch to use. You’ll probably think the developer built all those AR features themselves, but much of them will have actually been created by using the ARKit framework Apple provides.
What Kind Of Apps Can Be Created With ARKit?
Any kind of app you can imagine. Games are going to be HUGE for AR, but also there are a massive amount of uses for AR in normal apps. That includes anything from mapping apps to shopping apps to entertainment apps. Really, the ways augmented reality can be used are almost limitless. Check out some samples of apps that use ARKit in the videos below.
What Devices Support ARKit Apps?
Apple hasn’t announced which devices will support apps made with ARKit yet, but you can bet its flagship iPhone 8 is going to use AR as one of its biggest feature points.
And with the massive camera upgrades rumored to be coming to the iPhone 8, it’s also a safe bet that AR apps will run the best and most fluidly on the iPhone 8.
That being said, Apple’s developer documents say an iOS device with Apple A9 and A10 processors can support ARKit development–so it’s likely iOS devices with an A9 or A10 chip will also be able to run that ARKit apps.
Those devices include the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus or higher, the iPhone SE, and the iPad (2017) or higher.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Just that ARKit is probably the beginning augmented reality going mainstream. Early previews of apps made with ARkit show some truly stunning augmented reality features.
And given that there are hundreds of millions of A9 and A10 iOS devices already out there, once those devices get iOS 11 on them, there will also be hundreds of millions of AR-capable smartphones out there. Once that happens, AR-usage is going to explode.