The only mobile OS platform that has given too much importance to immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) is obviously the Apple iOS platform. From the very beginning when AR started to roll on, iOS remains very much at the forefront of using this technology for app development. The ARKit from Apple iOS resulted solely because of the brand’s continuous effort in utilising AR for delivering a better user experience. No wonder, AR app developers around the globe primarily focus on iOS platforms.
So, it is quite natural for any aspiring AR developer to target the iOS platform. But how to go about it? What promises ARKit presents to the app developers? How to use iOS AR apps for several different business niches like e-commerce, retail and others? Let us explain all these details in brief.
What exactly Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality abbreviated as AR refers to an immersive technology to extend the perception of the material reality around us with digital information overlays. By offering overlays of digital information over the real-world environment, AR actually blurs the difference between digital and lived reality. AR technology by becoming accessible through mobile apps across smartphones and other devices help users to interact with the real world through digital interfaces in an immersive manner.
Augmented reality (AR) not entirely relying on digital simulation of the real-world environment just like Virtual Reality (VR), didn’t get the same kind of popularity and hype when it was unearthed at the beginning. But soon it started becoming popular because of offering a sophisticated shopping experience, digital interactions and an intuitive information layer without making users buy any standalone devices or accessories. Unlike VR, AR can be leveraged and made accessible through good old smartphone devices.
Augmented Reality (AR) first made its phenomenal impression on the app world with the AR game app called Pokemon Go. The app also offers a classic example of how AR technology really works. Players in Pokemon Go just after opening the app need to point the smartphone camera at something and in the real world visual on the screen the digital character Pokemons appear. The players need to chase and catch it while moving their feet in the real world while the device camera is still on.
There are too many other AR apps that appeared over the years to offer sophisticated gaming and shopping experience. Particularly, retail and e-commerce apps started using the technology for providing a highly immersive shopping experience to their customers.
Any business that develops e-commerce mobile applications is aware of the huge impact Augmented Reality can make on the shopping experience. For example, a customer after entering a retail store can simply point the phone cameara to a product and the connected app starts showing the detailed information on the product instantly on the screen. An online customer can upload the image of his room interior and see how different furniture pieces look at the same premise by simply looking at the screen.
Let us introduce Apple ARKit
ARKit is the solution from Apple iOS to address the increasing demand of popular Augmented Reality (AR) technology in mobile apps. The kit helps iOS developers to incorporate AR technology and develop immersive AR apps for iPhone and iPad users. ARKit basically provides the core ability to release a variety of objects in the real world environment just to allow users to interact with these objects right on their iPhone screen. ARKit makes building AR-based apps for different niches easier.
The principal idea around which ARKit has been built is to allow users to track all their objects when they move around holding their devices. In a nutshell, this helps destroy the strict division between physical reality and its virtual interactions on the phone screen.
How ARKit helps AR app developers?
To understand how AR apps are developed for the iOS platform it is important to know how ARKit helps developers to build apps using the full scope of AR technology. Let’s mention below the most important advantages of the ARKit SDK.
- ARKit helps build AR apps that can run on all iOS devices including iPhone and iPad loaded with iOS 11 or advanced versions. These AR apps can also run on all iOS devices equipped with A11, A10, and A9 chipset. So, almost all iOS flagship devices that were launched in recent years are capable to run AR apps.
- ARKit uses a technology called Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to track the real-world environment and to incorporate different virtual objects right on the real-world visuals over the screen. Unparalleled accuracy and high precision remain the hallmarks of ARKit for this immersive visual presentation. The VIO technology works by handling different sensors to track location, generate visuals through the camera and detect movement through the accelerometer.
- The ARKit from Apple iOS also helps in analysing the visuals to ensure precise placement of the virtual objects on the real-world visual without causing any visual friction or lack of synchronisation. ARKit is also capable of estimating light for each scene and adjusting the light to place the virtual object on the scene in a natural way.
- All flagship iPhones beginning with the iPhone X also allow ARKit to make more precision-driven face detection and face tracking features for authentication and user-focused adjustments in different scenarios.
- ARKit has also been enhanced by an array of sophisticated third-party tools such as Unity and Unreal Engine. AR apps thanks to these tools can incorporate really advanced graphics for virtual objects.
As explained above, the ARKit from Apple iOS is the most comprehensive SDK as of now for developing AR apps. If you want to develop apps loaded with truly immersive augmented reality experiences, the help from ARKit can alone be the reason to opt for the iOS platform first.