Those who are interested in staying up to date on tech news are probably well aware already. But just in case you haven’t heard, Apple is rapidly approaching the wide release of ARKit, a development program of sorts that will allow app makers to design experiences specifically for phone-based augmented reality. The technology will be introduced via iOS 11, which should be unveiled alongside the iPhone 8 (probably this September), or slightly thereafter.
The idea of phone-based AR is that it doesn’t require any additional hardware equipment. That is to say unlike VR, AR can operate solely with your phone, such that virtual characters, settings, etc. appear on a phone screen as if they exist in the actual environment beyond your phone.
It may sound a little bit weird, but you need only spend a few minutes searching online for existing ARKit demos and your mind will be blown. Yes, it’s somewhat limiting that these experiences currently exist only through a phone screen. But in many cases they appear to be quite remarkable anyway. Incidentally we’ve already seen some of the first apps that will be produced by major developers, including a furniture placement simulator by IKEA, a food decorator by Food Network, and a very intriguing puzzle game by Climax Studios. Each of these looks exciting in its own way. But they also prompt the question of what other types of apps we should expect?
Here are a few educated guesses.
Interior Design : We mentioned that IKEA is putting out an app already, and it appears to be largely geared toward assisting with the selection and placement of furniture. We can probably expect something similar with regard to more detailed design, and specifically art. High quality art has become more affordable of late thanks to online retailers that as one company describes it are priced for every lover of art. Should one of these retailers partner with an AR developer, it would allow users to visualize canvases in their own homes.
Children’s Books : We already try to make children’s books as immersive as possible through vivid illustrations and even pop-up artwork. ARKit could bring about the next evolution in this form of literature, as accompanying ARKit apps could potentially bring characters to life in ways that would delight young children. Expect to see a few publishers get on board, or perhaps even for new ones to emerge on digital platforms.
Slot Reels : Casino gaming, and particularly slots, are probably more popular than you realize. They’re also among the most versatile games on the planet. Indeed, one site showcasing some of the newer online titles referred to them as a fantastic way to have fun from anywhere, alluding to their versatility. They can be played on desktops, online, through mobile devices and likely, soon, in AR. These games just have too big an audience to be left behind as ARKit evolves.
Building Simulators : There’s a huge variety in genre and style, but generally speaking city-building and world-crafting apps are among the most popular selections in the app store. And we’re not just talking about Minecraft. Some apps ask you to build sophisticated modern cities, others theme parks, and still others more cartoonish versions of towns or settlements. Any and all of these could be incredible through ARKit, as they would allow us to build 3D virtual models in our own space.
These are just some of the endless possibilities. But they’re among the ideas that make too much sense not to happen once ARKit’s influence begins to spread.