Apple’s iOS 11 is coming to compatible devices starting September 19th, which means that if you own a recent Apple iPhone or iPad, you may have an augmented reality-capable device in your hands before the new iPhone line even launches.

Apple’s big iPhone 8/8 Plus/X unveiling this year promised a bevy of information surrounding augmented reality, thanks to the release earlier this summer of ARKit. As a tool that lets developers make AR games and apps on what Apple says will amount to “hundred of millions of iPhones and iPads,” we had our hopes pretty high for a slew of app announcements.

While we only saw four AR apps revealed on stage demonstrating the phone’s AR capabilities, Apple has said in the past that they’re working with Pokemon GO creators Niantic, IKEA, and Lego to name a few to bring AR apps to the App Store. To that end, starting this month any iPhone, iPad or iPod that can upgrade to iOS 11 will be able to get in on the action, which the company says will let you do things like “redecorate your home, explore a city you’ve never visited, or even try on a new tattoo.”

image courtesy Apple

Apple is advertising the new iPhone line as custom designed “for the ultimate augmented reality experience,” featuring specially calibrated cameras, a screen low on bezels, and the new A11 Bionic processor that drives the room and face-mapping power of the new devices. That may not be enough for many to take the $1000 iPhone X upgrade, but if you’re looking for the most capable AR-capable phone out there, you can bet it’s going to be an Apple product until other manufacturers get in the game.

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Google also recently released an AR developer kit, ARCore, which aims to give similar AR abilities to “100 million [Android] devices at the end of preview.” Google is working with Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS and unnamed others to accomplish it, making AR the next battle ground for the competing brands.

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  • Xron

    Hope they will give some attention to Vr too…

    • johngrimoldy

      We’ll see. I’m conflicted. Apple has the potential to do some great things with VR, but if history is an indicator, it’ll be ridiculously expensive and proprietary. I just don’t see Apple releasing a Steam-Compatible product.
      At this point, my understanding is Macintoshes lack the necessary horsepower to support a Vive or Rift. ‘Seems like getting fully into VR for Apple would be quite a big investment if they wanted to release something comparable. I don’t see Apple wanting to compete with the PlayStation.
      I can’t see buying a $2,500+ Macintosh *plus* the Apple Proprietary VR gear (another, what, $1,500?).
      Educated guess is that Apple is banking on AR to be the big thing. Personally, I think BOTH will be huge. However, they’re both very different.

      • They can always make their phones SteamVR compatible, eh? :)

      • Get Schwifty!

        Wtf – why would you care if Steam is involved, they don’t own the VR experience. Btw they have announced support for VR with serious GPUs finally. I think it’s no coincidence the new form factor for MacBook Air thinness is supported by Nvidia – no question Apple is part of this. So, point being mobile AR is for the most part a sepaarate play from the laptop/desktop experience as you said.

        Now, before someone claims I love yet another “walled garden” let me say I hate using a Mac; I respect it, but I hate the interface.

    • dk

      xD looool ….vr vs ar is a completely false dichotomy
      this could have been called …..crappy monocular 6dof tracking….and it can be used for anything …..but arkit is just shorter

  • bolamike
  • dk

    what’s up with the list of phones and tablet …..did u just pull it off the internet randomly…..or r they saying that arkit will be compatible with chipsets older than the a9

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    AR is just a code word for crappy VR.

  • Foreign Devil

    I think their infrared face tracking tech could be useful for motion capture on future VR goggles. . so peoples avatars have face tracked animation.

  • spike

    The list of ark

  • spike

    Your device list is wrong. 6dof arkit is only supported by the 6s and up.

  • mike kirchner

    There are already dozens of AR games that can be downloaded on Google play. =/.

  • GrangerFX

    The AR demos are cute but using your iPhone with a Google Cardboard style headset is a vastly more compelling experience yet Apple offers no SDK or developer tools to develop AR/VR apps that use a headset. They could have let you use the cameras for head mounted AR which would have been pretty awesome but no.

  • lovethetech

    Apple is advertising that “iPhone line as custom designed “for the ultimate augmented reality experience,”.

    In similar veins, Apple is also advertising for OLED – the best OLED screen (the screens used are 2 years behind and the tech is old like 4 to 5 years) and

    Advertising the wiresless as “”Greatest Wireless” … which is like 5 to 7 years old.

    Only the brainwashed will buy into that “Custom designed”… which is from metaio in 2013.

    BTW, AR on phones are trash!!