ARKit 1.5 is coming with iOS 11.3, and it will literally open doors for developers

Enlarge / An augmented reality demo by Apple. (credit: Apple)

Today, Apple released a developer preview of iOS 11.3 and previewed iOS 11.3 to the public with a blog post and a press event. As previously reported, some iteration of iOS 11.3 will include the ability to toggle the controversial performance throttling previously implemented to address problems related to aging batteries in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models.

However, the centerpiece of Apple's presentation is ARKit 1.5, a new version of the augmented reality software development framework introduced in iOS 11. Whereas ARKit previously only helped app developers map 3D objects to flat, horizontal surfaces like the floor or a table, ARKit 1.5 will make vertical surfaces like walls, doors, and windows workable by AR apps.

For example, Apple demonstrated an app that placed a target on the wall and tasked the user with throwing a virtual ball on the phone screen at the target. If the ball missed the target, it would bounce off the wall. None of that is part of the current version of ARKit. Further, ARKit apps will be able to read 2D information like signs, artwork, or screens placed on those horizontal surfaces, like "bringing a movie poster to life."

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