What it is: Apple announced ARKit 2, the latest version of their augmented reality framework.
After Apple acquired Metaio, a German augmented reality company, Apple has yet to implement all of Metaio’s technology. If you look for old Metaio videos on YouTube, you can see features form back in 2013 that are still unavailable in Apple’s ARKit. Most likely, Apple is slowly integrating Metaio’s technology with their own Swift framework. That means if you want to see the future of augmented reality, just look at the old Metaio videos still available on YouTube.
Apple recently revealed their latest version of ARKit, version 2. What’s surprising is how ARKit now allows multi-player games where multiple people can share a single augmented reality view. LEGO demonstrated an actual LEGO kit surrounded by augmented reality images that two people can manipulate. Apple also demonstrated a two player game that displays virtual blocks on a table where each player uses a slingshot to knock the other player’s blocks down. The big future of ARKit 2 is that it allows one person to place an augmented reality object in the real world and a second person can see that same virtual image as well.
For now, ARKit 2 focuses on games but the ability to place virtual objects in the real world creates the potential for people to place virtual treasures in the real world so other people can view it later. Stores might place discount coupons in their aisles that only someone with an iOS device can find. By making shopping more like a video game, stores can actively engage shoppers and keep them in the store longer. The longer people are in stores, the more likely they’ll buy something.
The real potential of augmented reality likely won’t hit until ARKit finally matches Metaio’s technology from 2013. With augmented reality a key feature of iOS, expect augmented reality to start driving more people to use iOS just to use augmented reality in the same way that people once bought Windows PCs just to run Windows software. Augmented reality is still gaining traction int he real world, but it will arrive faster than you might think.