There’s a pretty amazing demo of augmented reality technology at the new Apple Park visitor center.
The visitor center — which opened to the public on Tuesday afternoon — features a large-scale model of the new campus.
The model is large but bare bones. It looks like a classic architectural model with plain mockups of the buildings and the campus’ contours.
But pick up a nearby iPad, point the camera at the model, and it suddenly springs to life with lifelike plants, trees, and details galore. Check out the video below.
— Nobi Hayashi 林信行 (@nobi) September 12, 2017
The AR app allows visitors to see the giant new campus from all angles, and to explore the giant spaceship, the surrounding buildings and the campus’ thousands of trees. It even changes the time of day, showing how the campus appears at night.
“This is awesome! says Japanaese tech journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi, who filmed the video and posted it to twitter. “Amazing.”
The demo was made with Apple’s ARKit, a software framework help developers create augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads running iOS 11. The new operating system will be available to the general public on September 19.
iOS 11 will allow users to run Augmented Reality apps on millions of iPhones and iPads. Tim Cook has said it will be the largest AR platform in the world.
AR has the potential to create a whole new paradigm of apps. By embedding digital content into views of the real world, AR has the potential to shake up shopping, entertainment, and information. Tim Cook said AR is “big and profound.”
Although the new iPhone X is built for augmented reality, with 3D sensors front and back, the technology didn’t get a ton of attention during Tuesday’s keynote, perhaps because there’s not yet a critical mass of compelling AR apps.
That will likely change this coming year as customers and developers get their hands on capable AR hardware like the new iPhone.
The demo in the visitor center is a little gimmicky, and Apple might have gotten similar results with simple 3D model of the new campus that visitors could explore.
But the AR dimension makes it novel and inviting. It encourages visitors to explore. It’s easy to see how this kind of interactive play can be exploited by museums, art galleries, stores and more.
It’s another exciting demo of the AR’s potential.