Today Apple launched its latest watch, TV, and iPhone series at the company’s new Cupertino, California campus, designed by Foster + Partners.
One of the unveiled gadgets, a $999 device dubbed the iPhone X, features a larger screen and a whole host of fancy features that befit its high price tag. Almost like the Apple Watch, the new iPhone can be charged with magnetic induction and employs face recognition to unlock itself—there’s no home button. With better cameras, the phones have the optimal hardware for augmented reality, a useful technology for designers and one that Apple has been keen to refine. You don’t have to be a well-compensated tech bro to get in on the fun, either: cheaper phones in the iPhone 8 line were also launched today for those with less money to spend.
On all models, the Camera app uses machine learning to analyze lighting conditions and adjust the image accordingly. For graphic communicators, there will also be animated emojis, which use your facial movements to turn static icons into cartoons.
The stakes for the rollout are high. Since its debut ten years ago, Apple has sold more than 1.2 billion iPhones, and despite its comparably high price tag, the series’ sales rank second only to phones from electronics manufacturer Samsung.
With all the tech-talk, what do architects and designers need to know about this new roll-out?
First, iOS 11, the new operating system, will allow designers to draw with the Apple Pencil on the iPadPro with greater ease.
But there’s even bigger news. The OS now comes with ARKit, Apple’s foray into augmented reality. Introduced in June, ARKit allows developers to churn out augmented reality apps using simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), a technology similar to the one that powers Pokémon Go. The key difference is that SLAM recognizes and scales objects relative to their environment, which is great for gaming but also provides the foundation for spatial analytic tools that are sure to be a huge boon to architects. Users will be able to upgrade to the new OS on September 19.
Developers for the AEC and design industries are bullish on the potential of these new features. Speaking with The Architect’s Newspaper (AN), Anna Kenoff, co-creator of Morpholio (a suite that includes drawing app Trace and Board for moodboarding) called the new tools a “home run” for designers.
A “drag and drop” feature will make it easier to access files and transfer them between programs, and the improved Pencil tool, she said, “will allow architects to work fluidly and precisely with their hands. It’s making tedious processes easier because you’re doing them by hand again.” The latest versions of Morpholio’s products will debut concurrently with iOS 11.
The newest version of image-editing app Affinity Photo features full HDR merge support and 360-degree image editing. As a bonus, Kenoff said it’s easier to use than Photoshop because of its ease of use with the Pencil.
Shaper 3D is a 3D modeling program for massing models faster, and it’s the first professional 3D CAD that runs on an iPad Pro.