Apple’s ARKit augmented reality platform just got better thanks to ARKit 1.5, which has rolled out to developers in beta.
The upgrade adds a big new feature to AR developers’ toolset: wall detection. Previous versions of ARKit only focused on horizontal plane detection, meaning that it only able to detect floors for objects to be placed onto. With the new upgrade, AR developers will now be able to add walls into the mix — for instance, creating a game in which you throw darts at a wall-mounted board.
The ugrade also allows better recognition for oddly-shaped objects like circular tables or chairs. In addition, it improves tracking speed and accuracy, along with the ability to parse 2D images within a 3D scene (say, a poster on a wall) to map it in physical space.
On top of this, resolution is improved so that ARKit will now look at the “real world” in 1080p, rather than 720p. That means that there should now be less disparity between the “fake” parts of an ARKit scene (which, oddly, looked more realistic due to their higher resolution) and the “real” parts, which previously appeared low resolution.
Not quite as big as Apple expected?
So far, Apple hasn’t released any figures to quantify how well ARKit has done. Tim Cook has continued to talk up augmented reality as one of the technologies he is most excited about.
According to analytics platform Apptopia, developers jumped on ARKit as soon as it was released, but rapidly lost interest. To date, Apptopia suggests that there are fewer than 1,000 apps in the App Store which make use of ARKit. Of these, a separate report from analytics firm Sensor Tower Intelligence suggests that the vast majority of ARKit apps released so far have been games.
Even if this disappointing initial reception is to be believed, though, there’s no doubt that making ARKit function better will bring in more devs. Combined with Apple’s recent ad highlighting ARKit on the iPad Pro, it seems that Apple’s nowhere near ready to throw in the towel yet. And, with ARKit’s new features, neither should developers!
What do you make of augmented reality so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.