Following months of speculation about what exactly the nature of its ambitions for augmented reality are, the company announced it's building an AR platform directly into iOS. With ARKit, Apple is for the first time offering developers a suite of tools to make dedicated augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads.
ARKit is a new framework that allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways.
ARKit uses Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to accurately track the world around it. VIO fuses camera sensor data with CoreMotion data. These two inputs allow the device to sense how it moves within a room with a high degree of accuracy, and without any additional calibration. With ARKit, iPhone and iPad can analyze the scene presented by the camera view and find horizontal planes in the room. ARKit can detect horizontal planes like tables and floors, and can track and place objects on smaller feature points as well. ARKit also makes use of the camera sensor to estimate the total amount of light available in a scene and applies the correct amount of lighting to virtual objects.
The biggest advantage Apple has with ARKit is it will be available to all iPhones and iPads that can run iOS 11, which is why the company said Monday it stands to own the biggest AR platform in the world.