Ipodulous Rift

Apple’s latest announcement makes augmented reality easier for architects

International News Technology
Apple's latest announcement makes augmented reality easier for architects . Apple demonstrated their shared AR experiences through a tabletop game. (Courtesy Apple)
Apple's latest announcement makes augmented reality easier for architects . Apple demonstrated their shared AR experiences through a tabletop game. (Courtesy Apple)

Apple has wrapped up its keynote at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and announced several big changes coming with IOS 12 that should shake things up for architects and designers.

The biggest announcements focused on VR and augmented reality (AR), as Apple unveiled ARKit 2.0. With a presentation backed by a constellation of big names such Lego, Adobe, Autodesk and more, the sequel to Apple’s original AR infrastructure promised to bring a much more cohesive AR ecosystem to consumers.

For architects and interior designers, Apple’s promise of easily digitizing and later placing real-world objects in an AR environment could have a huge impact on envisioning what a space will look like. If ARKit 2.0 succeeds, it could be used to decorate a room or to put different architectural options (literally) on the table without having to build physical iterative models. A collaborative, locally-hosted AR experience was also shown off at the keynote, with two players using their iPads to knock down wooden towers Angry Birds-style.

One complaint about the original ARKit was the fragmented ecosystem and inability to interact with AR objects across apps. For IOS 12, Apple has partnered with Pixar to develop a new proprietary file format for 3D models, USDZ (Universal Scene Description Zip). USDZ files should be openable across all IOS devices, including Macs, and Adobe is promising native Creative Cloud support.

Craig Federighi interacting with a fish model he pulled from an online article. (Courtesy Apple)

The introduction of a streamlined system for sharing and examining 3D objects in the real world, and to create persistent AR experiences in specific locations, likely means enhanced functionality for apps like Morpholio once the new IOS rolls out.

For those looking for more practical applications of the technology, Apple is also expanding its list of native AR apps. Coders who have measuring tools on the App Store likely won’t be happy with Measure, Apple’s in-house AR solution that allows users to snap a picture of reference objects and then tap to measure anything else. Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi took to the stage and used Measure to seamlessly calculate the length of a trunk, then his own baby photo.

IOS 12 will get a public release when the latest iPhone model rolls out in September of this year.

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