ARKit 2 allows developers to integrate shared experiences, persistent AR experiences tied to a specific location, object detection, and image tracking "to make AR apps even more dynamic." More powerful than the original ARKit, it offers improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences, and shared experiences, the company says.
For example, ARKit 2 can allow multiple users to play a game or collaborate on projects together, such as home renovation. It also supports a "spectator mode" that enables friends and family to see AR gameplay from another iOS device without participating.
Persistent AR, says the company, will also change the way consumers interact with AR apps by creating opportunities to leave virtual objects in the real world to which they can later return. For example, they can start a puzzle on a table and come back to it later in the same state, or create an art project over the course of a few weeks without starting over each time.
ARKit 2 also extends support for image detection and tracking, making it possible to detect 3D objects like toys or sculptures, and adds the ability to automatically apply reflections of the real world onto AR objects.
Along with the ARKit 2 announcement, Apple also unveiled a Measure app for iOS, which uses AR to quickly gauge the size of real-world objects. In addition, the company announced a new open file format with iOS 12 - called usdz - designed to more deeply integrate AR throughout iOS and make AR objects available across the ecosystem of Apple apps.
ARKit 2 and usdz are part of the developer preview of iOS 12 that is currently available to Apple Developer Program members. ARKit 2 and usdz support will be available this fall as part of a free software update for iPhone 6 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and iPad 6th generation.