Apple announced at WWDC today the next generation of ARKit, which introduces a new multiperson mode for AR games and another mode that allows for virtual objects to be placed in an area and remain in place. ARKit 2.0 also comes with improved face tracking, 3D object detection, and realistic rendering.
The multiperson mode will allow two or more people to share data to see the same object or play the same game within a virtual environment. Reuters previously reported that the multiperson mode was designed to work phone-to-phone instead of sending data to the cloud, in part because of privacy concerns. These new features supposedly give a taste of what’s in store for Apple’s AR headset, coming as soon as 2020.
Onstage, Lego showed how the new ARKit could be used to combine physical and digital worlds. In the demo, an existing Lego structure was scanned with an iPad, unlocking a digital overlay that allowed for dropping in characters, additional buildings, and objects like cars. Bubbles also appeared over characters and objects, indicating they could be tapped on to further gameplay and go on missions with up to four friends.
Apple also said that it has teamed up with Pixar to create a new AR format, called USDZ. The new format is a zero compression, unencrypted zip archive supported across iOS, so objects in AR can be shared and experienced in Safari, Mail, or anything else that’s part of the Apple ecosystem. Adobe also announced it will have native USDZ support in Creative Cloud.
This means anywhere you see an icon that designates something can be viewed in AR, whether it’s in News, or even when shopping for items in Safari, you can tap on it to interact with the object, zoom in, or perhaps even see what it would look like in your own home.
As part of the new AR update, Apple also introduced a new app called Measure, which allows for taking the dimensions of objects, measuring lines across surfaces, and detecting rectangles. When in the Measure app, simply hold it above an object, tap, and drag along a line to take a measurement.
Check out our Apple WWDC storystream for the latest updates!