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Apple’s software improvements could make AR as universal as iOS

Apple would clearly like its new mobile operating system to take augmented reality mainstream.

The news: Apple unveiled iOS 12 at its Worldwide Developers Conference today, and some of the most buzzworthy features have to do with bringing new AR experiences to the iPhone and iPad.

For example: A new AR app called Measure lets users gauge the size of objects in the real world—like the suitcase that Apple exec Craig Federighi measured on stage using the app. A new AR development kit introduces a multiplayer mode for AR games, improved face tracking, and 3-D object detection. A demo from Lego showed how the new tools can add digital overlays to scans of physical Lego structures. Apple also announced that it has worked with Pixar to create a new AR file format, called USDZ, which makes it much easier to share across the iOS ecosystem.

AR for everyone? Look no further than Pokémon Go to see that AR has compelling consumer market potential. Apple’s betting its new AR tools will open the floodgates even further.

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