Augmented reality (AR) has just become a priority subject for Apple. During the WWDC on Monday, the company dedicated a good portion of its busy schedule to the deployment of this technology. Other companies have been researching and deploying their proposals around augmented reality for years, and Apple is finally making its entry into this exciting space. From San Jose they stated that hundreds of millions of devices would be able to run apps with ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality development kit . But what devices are compatible?
ARKit compatibility: software and hardware requirements
First of all, we must make clear that apps with ARKit support require iOS 11 to work. As we know, iOS 11-compatible devices are all those that mount an A7 chip onwards or one of its variants. That is, from the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air .
However, not all of them will be able to run apps with ARKit. According to the documentation provided by Apple, the main limitation seems to be in the combination between chip and camera type . Thus, the cut is in the A9 processor and at least one 8MP iSight camera, which translates into these iPhone and iPad capable of displaying augmented reality:
- iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
- iPhone SE.
- iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2015
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro from 2016.
- iPad of 2017.
- 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2017
Looking at this list, the most affordable way for an Apple user to experience apps with ARKit is a 2017 iPhone SE or iPad. In the case of the iPad, it should be noted that this device has an A9 chip, which differentiates it from the A8X chip of the iPad Air 2, a tablet that is right on ARKit’s doorstep.
What is ARKit: some preliminary examples
Apple’s augmented reality technology uses the cameras, chips and displays of its devices to measure the environment in which they are located and display elements that conform to it . Both in light conditions and in space and depth. As Craig Federighi said in the keynote, this prevents an elephant-sized tea cup from appearing and occupying the entire screen.
Perhaps the best way to understand the possibilities of augmented reality is to think about Pokémon. It’s not the first game to make use of it , nor will it be the last (or best). But when it came out last year, it caused a furore that has rarely been seen. It’s not strange that it appeared as an example in the keynote, showing the improvements that ARKit can make to this game. Another game that will make use of it is Wingnut (from minute 0:55 on):
Impressive. And here is another one, which uses the Unity engine along with elements of the Overwatch game:
With lighting and smoke in the room. The tracking that makes the scene is amazing . Perhaps the best way to understand how it works is this other example:
La primera beta de iOS 11 ya está disponible para desarrolladores.
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The plane stays practically in place, no matter where the user holding the iPhone has gone. He has gone around the office a whole way and the plane stays there . Small problem: It doesn’t distinguish between walls, so if there is one in between, it will continue to put the plane in place as if nothing is obstructing the view.
But not everything is a game. Above you can see the tour made by the author of the video when cycling through the mountains. You can see all the details. Of course, it is far from examples we have seen recently, like that app that built a White House on top of a dollar bill. As soon as you put the camera away, it disappeared. To top it off, during the demos to developers after the keynote, there were those who were lucky enough to see a Star Wars chess game:
It is clear that the main focus of augmented reality is going to be entertainment. But let’s remember what Tim Cook said about it that he saw it as a great idea at the level of the smartphone. That are big words . Those of you who have played Pokémon will know that it’s a huge battery eater. We’ll have to check how apps with ARKit perform in this regard when iOS 11 is released in September.