Apple Moving toward Augmented Reality

Technology > IT

Later this year, Apple will put augmented reality software in as many as a billion mobile devices.

AR superimposes digital information – for example, video game characters or product prices – onto a person’s view of the real world. Virtual reality, on the other hand, immerses users in a completely digital experience.

Google has overpowered Apple in terms of AR tools, but this features are available on very selected phones and haven’t gained wide acceptance due to compatibility on Android devices. Unlike Apple, they can easily pair its software and devices. An advantage that will help them quickly make up lost ground, according to developers.

“When they make it available, my apps will be in millions of phones,” said Alper Guler, who makes AR programs. “It’s a major update which enables us to push forward far further,” he added.

Google revealed Tango, its AR software system, back in 2014, with the latest iteration showed off this January. Apple, on the other hand, lifted the lid off of ARKit last month, the company’s first foray into this field. The tool lets developers build AR applications for iPhones and iPads.

Unlike ARKit, Tango requires infrared depth perception sensors, and there are currently only two mobile phones available with the technology: Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro and Asus’ ZenFone AR. Apple’s ARKit uses the iPhone’s existing hardware, such as the camera and gyroscope, to achieve similar ends.

After an early push of Google with Tango, the search giant’s AR efforts seem to have taken a backseat to other priorities for now.

For Apple, ARKit is the foundation for a later, but larger push into AR-infused devices. The company has a team of engineers working on smart glasses and the next iPhone will likely include front- and rear-facing 3D sensors when it’s released later this year, analysts have predicted.

“A 3D sensor would permit improved accuracy when placing virtual objects in a real environment. That is essential for e-commerce applications in particular”, said Ari Bloom, CEO of Avametric, a maker of AR tools for the fashion industry.


photo by: Tookapic via