Metaio Says iPad 2 is a Huge Step Forward for Augmented Reality

Think the big deal with the iPad 2’s rear-facing camera is all about snapshots and videos? Think again.

The augmented reality gurus over at Metaio sound pretty darn excited about the new iPad 2 for two key reasons. The first is obvious: it has a much larger screen, which makes the iPad much more useful for, say, mixed-reality games than the iPhone ever was. The second ingredient is the iPad 2’s new, explosively fast dual-core A5 processor.

This is what a Metaio spokesperson had to say about augmented reality on the iPad 2 in an email to us:

We were really surprised to see how powerful the 3D hardware is. It allows us to create really sophisticated virtual content and interaction concepts. And the iPad AR experience is just greater than on a small phone screen…AR will become a part of our daily lives, when AR experiences meet people, where they spend most their time: inside their homes or inside their workspaces.

Here’s where Metaio thinks AR on the iPad 2 will make a big splash:

  • Shopping: Virtual try-ons, like the one Metaio created with JC Penney in the clip at the end of the post; of course, the front-facing camera can be used on this case, so the result is kind of like a virtual mirror.
  • Print journalism: magazines and newspapers have already dipped a toe into the AR world, but the iPad 2 should increase the enthusiasm of publishers to embrace the technology because of its larger screen size.
  • Mixed-reality gaming: if what Metaio says about this angle turns out to be true, the iPad 2 might well spark a whole new genre of video game to explode in the gaming world — all thanks to its dual-core A5 processor, gyroscope and cameras that no doubt have mixed-reality game developers salivating.
  • Education: examples in textbooks that jump off the printed page are what Metaio says are the sort of thing we can expect in the near future — although this one seems kinda weird; isn’t the whole point of the iPad to cut down on the mass of traditional media? Gotta bet students would rather carry an iPad over 20 pounds of textbooks, even with all the date-winning sparkle of AR.

So, why the iPad 2 in particular, and not somethign on the Android platform? Because of all the experience Metaio says they’ve already had with iOS. The company’ll be rolling out stuff on the Android platform, sure, eventually. But we get it all first.

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  • Steve Cronk

    I’m so excited for stuff like this on the iPad. Thats the reason I want the cameras. For proper photos I have a proper camera, but this is why I need them in there. There are so much more uses to them than just snapshots.

  • Sebastian

    Don’t forget augmented reality in architecture! I wrote a paper for university on just that. When the iPad 2 came out, people started laughing, saying ‘who needs a camera on a tablet anyway?’, I couldn’t resist but write a blogpost about how this device will pioneer augmented reality within architecture, both interior as well as on a much larger urban scale.

    http://blog.sebastianortner.co

  • Martin Topinka

    I like the idea a lot, on the other hand isn’t it just another iPad 2 advertisement? What have refrained the developers from creating it already on iPhone 4? Too slow CPU?

  • Augmentedgamer

    Hopefully we see some great AR gaming in the future. I have a blog solely about this.

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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