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Apples AR Kit and future of XR

Augmented Reality (AR) is often seen as the grown-up brother of Virtual Reality (VR). It’s true to say that the basic equipment need for a VR system is pretty cheap to own, and easy to operate with a mobile phone app, and that has made it a favourite for the next level of gaming. AR, on the other hand, tends to employ more specialist and purpose-designed equipment, and is focused more towards professional and industrial applications. That focus will become more apparent as Apple join the fray to dominate this potentially enormous market.

Enter Apple AR kit. The AR kit is what Apple has christened its set of bespoke software development tools, dedicated to enabling developers to build augmented-reality apps for the iOS software system.

AR: What’s it Good For?

AR is typified by the overlaying of virtual aspects and elements on the real-world, which may be viewed using specialist devices. In this manner, information about certain environments and objects associated with them are superimposed on real objects and places. Obviously, this level of technology is far beyond simply watching an app via a binocular viewer such as with VR, and the potential to do so much more is obvious. For this reason, AR is seen as being a more professional system and that is why professional developers are becoming involved.

Because of this professional slant, the AR Kit is likely only to appeal to serious developers, who have access to the more expensive equipment – such as Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens, and Vuzix Blade – and are intend on creating content that will help shape the world of a few years hence.

Welcome to Mixed Reality

But AR is becoming increasingly flexible, and capable of interactions with Virtual Reality and Augmented Virtuality (AV), earning it the number one position as a Mixed Reality (XR) tool, and that makes it the obvious choice for an increasing number of professional and even gaming applications. One of the most obvious and well-used examples of AR is on the Pokemon Go and the interaction with even that fun form of the technology is highly impressive, making detailed immersive industrial applications likely to become an increasingly used feature in many gaming platforms. Because of this, AR is becoming an increasingly important part of systems such as the Unity Game engine. But while gaming systems are undeniably a huge money spinner, the potential for AR and XR in real-world and industrial application promises to dwarf even that.

Apples AR Kit is intended as a professional system that will become the basis for developing industrial, medical and scientific applications, but the technology is available on any Apple device running an A9, A10 or A11 Bionic processor, making it accessible on millions of Apple devices, if you fancy trying your hand at AR applications.

Using AR Kit.

But development of AR requires expertise and detailed planning and that is where we at Unity Developers can help. With a strong background in development, we can offer advice on architecture as well as planning an App to create the most efficient and cost-driven solution.

AR and XR are likely to fast overtake VR as the tools of choice in the fast-moving worlds of systems control and medial processes, where that ability to overlay virtual elements on top of the real world will become normal.