Apple to debut new ARKit tools at WWDC supporting multi-player augmented reality

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 4
Apple's ARKit may make a big leap forward at WWDC, with Apple adding the ability to allow multiple iPhones to share the same the same virtual environment while also limiting personal data transmitted to the company's server.




Apple's ARKit software platform is currently a single-user affair. An expansion to the technology predicted to debut at WWDC will allow for peer-to-peer communication to some extent between the two devices, while still limiting personal data that Apple has to handle and transmit back

A report discussing the announcement claims that raw scans of a surrounding area will be shared between the users, without an interim stop "at rest" on a server someplace. However, how the data would be handled when a player drops out, or for more than two players wasn't detailed.

It also remains to be seen if the effort scales to more than two people. If the data is not stored on a central repository, total data transmission demands for the scan data increase exponentially as more players are added to the mix.

Google's execution of multi-user augmented reality requires scans of a user's environment which are then sent and stored in the cloud, according to Reuters. This could have what AR publisher Construct Studios CEO Joel Odgen called "really severe privacy implications we haven't really explored yet."

Apple's ARKit debuted at the 2017 WWDC. It was updated to version 1.5 with the March 29 release of iOS 11.3 which builds on the original ARKit allowing for integration of real world images in AR experiences and placement of virtual objects on vertical surfaces. For example, movie posters and signs can be made to trigger AR animations viewable through an iPhone or iPad.

Major companies including Lego, Ikea, and Amazon have adopted the technology for its apps, with others replacing their own systems with Apple's version. For example, Niantic optimized its Pokemon Go iOS app with ARKit, with the AR+ mode allowing players to "sneak" up on an AR Pokemon to capture it, as well as making the creature's placement in the environment more realistic.

Owners of the iPhone X are also able to use ARKit in another way: on their face. ARKit's face tracking system powers the popular Animoji feature, as well as its Portrait Lighting effects, masks, and avatars, which developers are only just starting to use for their own purposes.

Stay abreast of Apple's announcements by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS, and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late-breaking coverage. You can also check out our official Instagram account for exclusive photos from the event.

Can't watch Apple's livestream of the keynote? AppleInsider has you covered with a live blog covering all the announcements.
Alex1N

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,266member
    That could be neat.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,266member
    ascii said:
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
    Don't assume you know everything based on what you're hearing.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 4 of 14
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    ascii said:
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
    Don't assume you know everything based on what you're hearing.
    That's true, I shouldn't assume that the rumours available are covering everything. Gurman's article was overview-ish though.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,842member
    ascii said:
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
    I haven’t seen THE thing with ARKit that that makes me go wow. I’m sure there will be some game developer on stage but I always find those incredibly boring. Hopefulkt Apple has some surprises that haven’t leaked.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 6 of 14
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,478member
    ascii said:
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
    I haven’t seen THE thing with ARKit that that makes me go wow. I’m sure there will be some game developer on stage but I always find those incredibly boring. Hopefulkt Apple has some surprises that haven’t leaked.

    Alex1Ncornchip
  • Reply 7 of 14
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    ascii said:
    The whole event sounds like a big zero honestly. No hardware updates and the software updates will mostly be bug fixes. They are papering over their lack of productivity by trying to focus on ARKit (as evidenced by the signage) but...

    1. ain't nobody got time for that
    2. the main way you augment reality is by visually overlaying information on it, but that requires big databases about the world. No? Well Google has much bigger and better databases than Apple, so if they improve the popularity of AR in general, one side effect will be to make Android look better than iOS. So this event is shooting themselves in the foot.
    I haven’t seen THE thing with ARKit that that makes me go wow. I’m sure there will be some game developer on stage but I always find those incredibly boring. Hopefulkt Apple has some surprises that haven’t leaked.
    Me neither. It seems like something that would have more applications in work/business than in the consumer space. Maybe they will announce some kind of AR collab. with IBM.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,291member
    Come on Linden labs get with Apple :)
  • Reply 9 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,334member
    Hoping to see some highly compelling AR applications that aren't entertainment or retailing related. It is very interesting technology in search of a problem to solve that will make it indispensable. Not there yet, but I'm sure it will happen and then not as a standalone technology but as technology used in conjunction with AI. The combination of AR and AI could potentially be used to improve use cases where operators are overwhelmed/overloaded with sensory data and inputs, e.g., air traffic controllers, surgeons in a crisis situation, soldiers in battle, etc. The AI could be used as a dynamic data reduction and filtering layer to ensure operators are only presented with the slices of real time data and information fused from multiple sources, in AR form, that they have to act upon at each moment in time. The AR component of the AR+AI mix is essential for applications where there is a human in the loop, as opposed to autonomous vehicles which can process fused sensor data entirely using AI, models, and algorithms.

    Overlaying a 3D image of an Ikea sofa into the camera image of my living room or playing a 3D game on an image of my coffee table is cool, I guess, but there has to be more.

    C'mon Apple, show us what you have in mind that's going to at least make a dent in planet Earth, if denting solar systems and universes is now deemed unattainable. At this point I'd be happy with just a few small dents, at any level.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Looks neat and clear. Thank you so much for sharing. 
  • Reply 11 of 14
    dewme said:
    Overlaying a 3D image of an Ikea sofa into the camera image of my living room or playing a 3D game on an image of my coffee table is cool, I guess, but there has to be more. 
    Right, cool, I guess.  I’ve said it many times, the tech is cool and I can appreciate that, but where is the usefulness? In regard to those 3D game demos (or the 3D overlay of Apple Park over the model of Apple Park at the visitor’s center), how is the experience enhanced by being overlaid on my kitchen table? It seems that the game could just be rendered on screen without using the camera and be just as good, if not better.  From the stand point of having to physically move around my table while playing and having to move all my chairs out of the way first and worry about tripping on some kid’s toy it seems more cumbersome than playing a game the traditional way.

    Same for the Apple Park overlay, it could have been done as a traditional 3D model that we could manipulate on-screen with our fingers. Not to mention we could then do it from the comfort of our own house and not have to make a trip to Cupertino to get that experience.  Yes, it’s neat.  But what I want to see is how there is an advantage to having AR.  So far there’s been nothing that compelling.

    As mentioned above, projected on glasses or a windshield is probably where most consumers will get the most benefit.  These early years of fleshing out the technology are likely just the stepping stones to it’s true use later.  (Which, in turn, just seems to bolster the position that AR on a smart phone is mostly useless.)
  • Reply 12 of 14
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    The movie "Anon" on Netflix has lots of examples of potential AR applications. And in the second half, lots of ways it could be hacked! But also has a fair bit of sex/nudity, fair warning.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    ascii said:
    The movie "Anon" on Netflix has lots of examples of potential AR applications. And in the second half, lots of ways it could be hacked! But also has a fair bit of sex/nudity, fair warning.
    And a lot of those uses (in the movie) are advertising. 

    I liked the last line she says which seems clearly aimed at the relative lack of privacy today: “It’s not that I have something to hide, I have nothing I want you to see.”
  • Reply 14 of 14
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    ascii said:
    The movie "Anon" on Netflix has lots of examples of potential AR applications. And in the second half, lots of ways it could be hacked! But also has a fair bit of sex/nudity, fair warning.
    And a lot of those uses (in the movie) are advertising. 

    I liked the last line she says which seems clearly aimed at the relative lack of privacy today: “It’s not that I have something to hide, I have nothing I want you to see.”
    Yep, that line really gets to the heart of the matter, namely what the default should be.
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