Apple provides guidelines to ARKit developers

Taking some of the limelight away from Google’s ARCore announcement, Apple has providedvguidelines to developers building ARKit experiences. ARKit is Apple’s new augmented reality framework introduced as part of iOS 11.

It combines device motion tracking, camera scene capture, advanced scene processing, and display conveniences to simplify the task of building an AR experience.

The AR guidelines include five main sections: 

  1. Designing an Engaging Experience
  2. Entering Augmented Reality
  3. Placing Virtual Objects
  4. User Interaction with Virtual Objects
  5. Handling Problems

To design an engaging experience, Apple recommends; using the entire display to engage people, create convincing illusions when placing realistic objects, consider physical constraints, be mindful of user comfort, introduce any motion gradually, be aware of user safety, make use of audio and haptic feedback to enhance immersion, provide hints in context, use approachable terminology, and avoid unnecessary interruptions to the AR experience.

The guidelines offer many useful tips and are well worth a read if you’re interested in building an AR experience – whether using ARKit or not. Some developers have already built some compelling experiences with ARKit and heaped praise on the framework. Some of these developers are being invited to showcase their work during Apple’s media event rumored for September 12th, 2017.

When people think about the potential for AR, being able to virtually try clothes and furnishings before committing to a purchase is likely one of the first use cases to come to mind. Furniture retail giant IKEA offers one of the most practical examples for AR so far:

In the app, users can “place” furniture in their rooms and walk up to it to get a sense of scale and style. For furniture such as sofa beds, the sofa can be placed and then expanded into a bed with a touch from the user. This way, a user can also see if it’s likely to collide with any other furniture in the room.

Apple is in the advantageous position of having fewer devices to ensure the AR experience works correctly. ARKit developers say they were drawn to Apple’s solution over alternatives such as HoloLens due to iOS’ reach.
Google has been working on AR through ‘Tango’ since 2013 but only two phone models to date, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR, have shipped with it.

With the launch of ARCore, Google’s alternative to ARKit, the company expects to reach over 100 million devices by this winter. One thing is clear, the AR battle is heating up and Developer can’t wait to see what comes of it.
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