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Apple Announces ARKit 2, Centres on Multi-User Support, Face Tracking Improvements

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Apple is bringing augmented reality to the level with the announcement of a new version of its set of tools that lets developers create augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads – ARKit 2.

Announced by Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi today at WWDC, ARKit 2 introduces a new multiperson mode for AR games and another mode that allows for virtual objects to be placed in an area and remain in place.

“AR is transformational technology,” said Federighi. “We’re on a relentless pace of advancement.”

Improvements include improved face tracking, 3D object detection, and realistic rendering. Apple showed off ARKit 2’s new abilities with a demo from Lego that lets people build together on multiple devices. “Now with ARKit 2, we get to expand those creative possibilities like never before and take things beyond the physical,” said Martin Sanders, director of innovation for Lego.

iOS 12 ships with a new feature called “Measure,” which uses augmented reality to quickly calculate the size of real-world objects, just like a tape measure. “The new app automatically provides the dimensions of objects like picture frames, posters, and signs, and can also show diagonal measurements, compute area and allow users to take a photo and share it with accurate dimensions right from their iPhone or iPad,” reads an Apple press release.

Apple also announced a partnership with famed studio Pixar to create a new AR format, dubbed “usdz.” The new format is a zero-compression, unencrypted zip archive supported across iOS, allowing objects to be shared throughout the Apple ecosystem. Adobe has also announced its support for the new format in Creative Cloud.

According to Apple’s press release, “ARKit 2 and usdz support will be available this fall as part of a free software update for iPhone 6s and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and iPad 6th generation.”

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