Hands on with the new ARKit Measure app in iOS 12

Posted:
in iOS
Measure is a simple ARKit application allowing you to measure objects in the real world using the camera on your iOS device.




AppleInsider spent some time using Measure in a variety of situations ahead of its release to see how well it really worked.






The new Measure adds some functionality, as well as moving some existing features already found in iOS 11. Aside from being able to measure distances, the level feature has moved from the Compass app to Measure.

Those two tasks make up the two tabs within the app, as well as the 3D Touch shortcuts.

Level appears to be identical to how it worked with previous iterations of iOS, working both vertically and horizontally. It feels right at home within the new app, feeling more akin to measuring than using the compass.

Measuring objects relies on ARKit, Apple's augmented reality framework. Using the camera, it gets the sense of your environment and is able to overlay dimensions in the real world. Once you launch Measure, it asks you to move your device around before adding points.




Once ready, a point marker appears in the center of the display. It changes orientation based on whether the surface is horizontal (like a table or the ground) or a vertical (like a wall or piece of artwork). To measure something, tap the + button on the bottom to place a point. It will then anchor to that location in 3D space. A line will start to draw until you place a second point, at which point the distance between the two will be calculated.

If an edge is detected, the point will automatically cling to it, making it easy to be more exact. Any time a flat surface is measured, like a picture hanging on the wall, a yellow overlay will identify it. With a simple tap, all dimensions of that picture will be displayed, saving the user the hassle of measuring the whole thing manually.




An undo button in the top left-hand corner will undo the last placement, and a clear button in the top right will clear the canvas completely. Apple has even built in a way to save these dimensions in the form of a camera snapshot button in the lower right.

We spent some time measure all sorts of objects and Measure excelled best at measuring flat-surfaced objects, it was undoubtedly a handy feature to baked into iOS. Accuracy was also spot on, with measurements for us usually falling within an eighth of an inch. That margin of error may be too large for some applications, but for most jobs it will do just fine.

To date, there is a large number of free/cheap third-party apps on the App Store offering similar functionality to Measure. Those developers may be understandably upset at their newfound obsolescence, but it will be good for users in the long-term. They will either have to add new features to stay relevant, and the basic apps will disappear from the marketplace. iOS was in a similar situation regarding flashlight apps years ago before Apple built in the functionality natively.

Measure will be included in the upcoming launch of iOS 12, which is planned for this fall. iOS 12 brings along a number of other new improvements and features including increased performance, Group FaceTime, Memoji, camera effects, grouped notifications, ScreenTime, and much more.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    indiekidukindiekiduk Posts: 250member
    How long til the Androids start noticing older devices only run iOS 12 lite?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    It is very similar to the Measure app from Lowe’s which I wonder how, if at all, any battle may play out. I do like the fact that it’s build into iOS in this fall’s release - one more app I do not have to have now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 26
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 123member
    The two AR measuring apps I have tried are both terribly inaccurate, to the point that I would never use them. Unless ARKit in IOS 12 is what makes the difference, I will not be using them in the future, either.
    SendMcjak
  • Reply 4 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,198member
    bonobob said:
    The two AR measuring apps I have tried are both terribly inaccurate, to the point that I would never use them. Unless ARKit in IOS 12 is what makes the difference, I will not be using them in the future, either.
    Now that Apple has thrown their hat into the ring I'm sure its accuracy will be overly scrutinized and any 3rd-party apps that are more accurate (even on Android) will be pointed out quickly to show how much Apple sucks.
    edited June 11 albegarcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    SendMcjakSendMcjak Posts: 66unconfirmed, member
    The measuring tape in this video made me think that you were going to compare the accuracy of the Measure app against a real, trusted standard.  Bummer.
    albegarcrare commentcoolfactor[Deleted User]bonobobaylk
  • Reply 6 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,208member
    You would only use iPhone apps to measure roughly. Look at the picture of the hanger above. If you were planning on cutting or joining something you would have to use a physical measure.  
    But this is a very handy tool.
    edited June 11 GeorgeBMacnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 140member
    SendMcjak said:
    The measuring tape in this video made me think that you were going to compare the accuracy of the Measure app against a real, trusted standard.  Bummer.

    SendMcJak nailed it. When only a highly accurate measurement will work, you will always resort to a proper measuring tool.  There are even times when a tape measure is not accurate enough.  But there's often times when this app will be plenty accurate for what I'm doing.

    I for one am really looking forward to this!
    SendMcjaknetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 26
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 291member
    Close enough is many times good enough.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 26
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,268member
    How long til the Androids start noticing older devices only run iOS 12 lite?

    Please don't spread false information, or better yet, post facts to back up your comment.

    A software upgrade can not upgrade the hardware, so I'm having trouble finding the point in your comment.
    edited June 11 GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,268member

    SendMcjak said:
    The measuring tape in this video made me think that you were going to compare the accuracy of the Measure app against a real, trusted standard.  Bummer.

    Yah, it was a bit disappointing that they compared using a small, round odd-shaped object that's difficult to measure. Maybe a thick book would have been better?
    edited June 11 MplsP
  • Reply 11 of 26
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,268member

    Soli said:
    bonobob said:
    The two AR measuring apps I have tried are both terribly inaccurate, to the point that I would never use them. Unless ARKit in IOS 12 is what makes the difference, I will not be using them in the future, either.
    Now that Apple has thrown their hat into the ring I'm sure its accuracy will be overly scrutinized and any 3rd-party apps that are more accurate (even on Android) will be pointed out quickly to show how much Apple sucks.

    I don't think Apple would have demoed the feature on stage if the app didn't go through significant scrutiny. Or maybe they were grasping at straws for demo content?

    But about this: "how much Apple sucks"? Why are you here?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,388member
    It’s handy to have this app on iOS by default, but I’d much rather the effort involved was instead put into Apple adding a dedicated Mac-like Apple Dictionary app to iOS (and additionally with one-tap spoken pronunciations, for when needed). And on iOS for iPad, for feck’s sake, Apple should add Apple Calculator and Apple Weather apps... yesterday, five years ago—makes me sad.
    edited June 11
  • Reply 13 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,198member

    Soli said:
    bonobob said:
    The two AR measuring apps I have tried are both terribly inaccurate, to the point that I would never use them. Unless ARKit in IOS 12 is what makes the difference, I will not be using them in the future, either.
    Now that Apple has thrown their hat into the ring I'm sure its accuracy will be overly scrutinized and any 3rd-party apps that are more accurate (even on Android) will be pointed out quickly to show how much Apple sucks.
    I don't think Apple would have demoed the feature on stage if the app didn't go through significant scrutiny. Or maybe they were grasping at straws for demo content?
    That's my point. Apple's mindshare is so high that they have to be twice as good to get a fraction of the credit.

    But about this: "how much Apple sucks"? Why are you here?
    Is that directed at me?
    edited June 11
  • Reply 14 of 26
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 860member
    Actually I can see myself using this as it's quite useful when you are moving house. How much space do I need for this sofa, how much wall space I need for that painting, etc. where normally mid accuracy is enough.
    Linz Hendersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,198member
    ireland said:
    It’s handy to have this app on iOS by default, but I’d much rather the effort was put instead on adding a dedicated Apple Dictionary app on iOS, and additionally with one-tap spoken pronunciations for when needed. And iPad for feck’s sake needs Apple Calculator and Apple Weather, already. It makes me sad.
    I'm still waiting for spoken pronunciations on the macOS app. Even if it's an online-only service that taps into Merriam Webster, or some other website that offers this feature.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 572member

    SendMcjak said:
    The measuring tape in this video made me think that you were going to compare the accuracy of the Measure app against a real, trusted standard.  Bummer.

    Yah, it was a bit disappointing that they compared using a small, round odd-shaped object that's difficult to measure. Maybe a thick book would have been better?
    I had the same thought. Maybe they could have measured the measuring tape? What are the minimum requirements for ARKit? WIll it run on my 6s? This seems like it would be incredibly handy to have at times, even if it’s not perfect, even getting to within ⅛~¼” would be nice.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,198member
    MplsP said:

    SendMcjak said:
    The measuring tape in this video made me think that you were going to compare the accuracy of the Measure app against a real, trusted standard.  Bummer.

    Yah, it was a bit disappointing that they compared using a small, round odd-shaped object that's difficult to measure. Maybe a thick book would have been better?
    I had the same thought. Maybe they could have measured the measuring tape? What are the minimum requirements for ARKit? WIll it run on my 6s? This seems like it would be incredibly handy to have at times, even if it’s not perfect, even getting to within ⅛~¼” would be nice.
    Or a 12" ruler. I think measuring odd-shaped objects are great, but I'd like to see direct comparisons to every measurement with a physical device for measuring distance.
    toysandme
  • Reply 18 of 26
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,902member

    Soli said:
    bonobob said:
    The two AR measuring apps I have tried are both terribly inaccurate, to the point that I would never use them. Unless ARKit in IOS 12 is what makes the difference, I will not be using them in the future, either.
    Now that Apple has thrown their hat into the ring I'm sure its accuracy will be overly scrutinized and any 3rd-party apps that are more accurate (even on Android) will be pointed out quickly to show how much Apple sucks.

    I don't think Apple would have demoed the feature on stage if the app didn't go through significant scrutiny. Or maybe they were grasping at straws for demo content?

    But about this: "how much Apple sucks"? Why are you here?
    Actually, I'll come to Soli's aid because you need to re-read his comment. What he's saying is Apple haters will complain about any shortcomings and the haters will say Apple sucks. Soli isn't saying he says that. 
    Soliroundaboutnow[Deleted User]
  • Reply 19 of 26
    ireland said:
    It’s handy to have this app on iOS by default, but I’d much rather the effort involved was instead put into Apple adding a dedicated Mac-like Apple Dictionary app to iOS (and additionally with one-tap spoken pronunciations, for when needed). And on iOS for iPad, for feck’s sake, Apple should add Apple Calculator and Apple Weather apps... yesterday, five years ago—makes me sad.
    this! I picked up my son's iPad Mini 4 at the weekend to check the weather and was baffled that it wasn't there. I'd love to know Apple's reasoning behind the decision to omit it. I also use the calculator quite often but as I have it hidden away in a folder, I tend to search for it as it's quicker. Bizarrely, it rarely shows up when I type C A L C, on the odd occasion it does show, it's offloaded itself and has to download again - its much quicker just typing my equation into google or bing now.
    edited June 12
  • Reply 20 of 26
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,043member
    You keep telling us how accurate it is, did it really not occur to anyone making this video to stretch a tape measure out and simply measure the tape measure, I thought that was coming finally 30 seconds before the end, but alas it was just a teaser. Please redo this video.

    EDIT, should have read *all* the replies first!
    edited June 12 toysandme
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