At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today, the company confirmed that ARKit 2.0 is coming with a list of new features, including mutiuser support, and a bevy of updates that look to refine AR interactions on iOS devices.
Update (06/04/18): First leaked in the report cited below, a list of features are coming to ARKit 2.0: improved face tracking, more realistic rendering, better 3D object detection, persistent experiences and multi-user support for shared experiences. One bit that wasn’t mentioned however was privacy, which although not featured, we suspect was skipped over for the sake of showing the more catchy multiuser features.
The company made special mention of shared experiences coming to the next iteration of ARKit, showing a multiplayer slingshot game that lets two players duel on a real table filled with virtual blocks; besides support for two players using their own devices, the company also mentioned there can be up to one observer. The slingshot game is being released to developers now as an example of what’s possible with the update.
Apple also partnered with LEGO to build an experience that lets up to four players interact using miniature Lego avatars in a mix of real and virtual Lego buildings. More Lego AR experiences are expected in the App Store “later this year,” said Lego Director of Innovation Martin Sanders. It’s uncertain if the unnamed game will see the light of day, as the demo was very sparse on actual game mechanics, although seeing the little Lego characters walk around a real Lego set certainly made for a nice vertical slice of what could come down the line.
Apple also announced a new AR utility app called ‘Measure’, that lets you measure items such as boxes and photos, as well as new AR format, called USDZ. As a ‘zero compression’, unencrypted zip archive supported across iOS, AR objects can be shared and inserted into Apple ecosystem apps such as Safari and Mail, and even supported on Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
The original article follows below:
Original article (06/02/18): According to a recent Reuters report, Apple is set to unveil some new features in its supposed release of ARKit 2.0, the company’s augmented reality toolkit for iOS 11 devices. Reported changes coming to the platform include multiuser AR that runs on a local peer-to-peer network, ensuring the resultant data, such as room scans, remain private.
Citing people familiar with the subject, Apple is said to have designed its two-player system out of privacy concerns—a departure from how Google currently handles multiplayer AR.
Google ARCore, the company’s Android-based counterpart to Apple ARKit, requires scans of a player’s environment to be sent to, and stored in, the cloud in something the company dubs ‘Cloud Anchors’.
In Apple’s ARKit 2.0, Reuters reports, the company will avoid storing any raw mapping scans of a user’s environment in the cloud. Google says it discards raw mapping data after a week.
Many developers have already created ad hoc multiplayer games for both ARKit and ARCore prior to official support, but with Apple’s built-in support for this very specific way of connecting with other users, it’s likely to push the future of apps in a more social direction.
While Apple has placed an ever-increasing emphasis on smartphone-driven AR, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly said there are still plenty of challenges to consider before the company would release an AR headset, but ultimately, that’s where the technology is headed.
“The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that. The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet,” he says. “We don’t give a rat’s about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”
Apple is said to unveil ARKit 2.0 at the company’s yearly Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which takes place June 4th-8th in San Jose, California.