Great things coming soon from developers using Apple ARKit
Yesterday I talked with two stealth-mode Augmented Reality developers about what's coming soon from Apple and from their companies (both asked me to hold the videos until after Apple announces).
Both are well known in ecosystem. Both have interesting things cooking for Apple's new iPhone. One will be available day one and one won't be available until probably SXSW, or even later. Seems like Spring to Summer will see a ton of new AR apps, based on what these two told me. It will take that long for developers to come up with new things to do with the new iPhone and ARKit.
Both say Apple hasn't told them squat about the new iPhone (both don't know what the new 3D sensors will do for their apps), nor its plans beyond what has been publicly revealed. Both have recently visited with Apple.
But neither of these developers was Disney or Pokemon-Go.
Both say that Apple advised them to use the Apple-only stack, from Metal to Swift. One showed me a board game where the pieces responded to shaking the device, which was done in Metal (Apple's developer platform that lets developers draw lots of polygons on the screen using Apple's GPU, which is why Apple will be ahead in AR for a while -- Apple's iPhones have about 10x the GPU power of Huawei's phones, for instance, which are #3 in sales).
But because Apple hasn't shared anything about the new iPhone with them, we probably won't see a lot of apps that really push the new sensors, or other features, like AI-object recognition, or face detection, on day one unless they come from a partner Apple really trusts deeply. That tells me Apple really wants to surprise most consumers with some really magical new stuff. Most developers are gonna be frustrated because they won't be able to have apps out on day one that take advantage of the new features in the new iPhone beyond the ARKit stuff they saw in June.
By using Metal, he told me, AR apps will behave better because the iPhone can deliver more polygons using that instead of other techniques.
The problem is, most VR developers (and let's be honest, most of the apps will come from companies and people who've been doing VR for the past couple of years) are building on Unity and aren't really familiar with the Apple mobile app development stack.
If you are an AR developer, does this match what you are hearing/experiencing?
The big bang approaches.
Keep watching Apple AR World. Shel Israel and I will be bringing lots of things after the announcements and, especially are looking to interview developers who are building Augmented Reality apps for the new iPhone. If you are one, drop us a line!