Each fall, Applephiles wait with bated breath for the latest updates to their beloved devices during the tech juggernaut’s Keynote event. Essentially, Earth stops for the two-hour address and then is changed forever by Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and their teams.
This year was no different. Tuesday’s event at the newly completed Steve Jobs Theater (R.I.P.) brought the newly unveiled iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+, as well as the iPhone X (gasp!), iOS 11, and a host of new facial recognition features and technologies. But the most important reveal—and what we’re most excited about here at CTC—was the ARKit, Apple’s new augmented reality tool.
Announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, this set of back-end tools for iPhone and iPad equip developers to create the next era of augmented reality (AR) apps, and since 56% of all web traffic comes via mobile devices, this is a HUGE deal.
Mixed in with the introductions of Face ID and Animojis, a demo of a game allowed users to pan their iPhone across a digital battleground with stunning clarity. And the only other mention of the technology aside from the iPhone 8 and 8+ back “cameras calibrated for AR” was in the new front-facing camera tracking exemplified by Snapchat selfies.
But what does ARKit do? Think back to Pokemon Go, or the recent dancing-hotdog Snapchat character—ARKit tracks real-world space and changes it with virtual content to occupy that real space. Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR uses a device’s motion tracking and scene processing capabilities to change how your actual surroundings appear on the screen.
So what does this mean for us?
As storytellers, marketers now have an entirely new immersive plane to tell their tales and bring customers into their brand experience. AR’s third dimension allows for more detailed ads, tours of brick-and-mortar retail stores with extra information and promotions, and improved product placement opportunities. Companies like Lego and Converse were among the first to use AR to drive e-commerce, and IKEA has already partnered with Apple on ARKit to bring customers the experience of placing their virtual KALLAX shelving units into their real living rooms.
Sure, we appreciate the improvements to the iPhone’s camera for clearer influencer testimonial videos and crisper images for social media, and we can’t WAIT to heckle each other in Messages with Animojis. But with the seemingly unlimited possibilities of AR, especially on the world’s most popular smartphone, we can’t just help but geek out on this game-changing technology.
Let’s just say it’s both augmenting reality AND the possibilities of tomorrow’s online marketing landscape. And that’s pretty cool.
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