Apple is touting the iPhone 8 devices as the first smartphones that are natively designed for augmented reality. Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said new hardware in the iPhone 8 can integrate data and superimpose it over live places to make it blend with the real world.
“Each iPhone is custom tuned for AR,” said Schiller.
More specifically, the iPhone 8 includes a new A11 Bionic chip that’s integrated with an Apple-designed GPU, which Apple claims will deliver up to 30 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation. The iPhone 8 cameras will also be calibrated for AR, with low light and an improved gyroscope and accelerometer for better motion tracking.
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Apple also showed off some new augmented reality demos to highlight iPhone 8’s AR features and the ARKit platform that supports them. ARKit is Apple’s technology for enabling developers to build AR apps, and today’s demos helped illustrate the kinds of use cases that Apple has in mind for its AR platform.
Here’s the exact wording from Apple:
The A11 Bionic CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition and the GPU enables incredible graphics at 60fps, while the image signal processor does real-time lighting estimation. With ARKit, iOS developers can take advantage of the TrueDepth camera and the rear cameras to create games and apps offering fantastically immersive and fluid experiences that go far beyond the screen.
Apple has been more than bullish about the prospects of AR. On Apple’s latest earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said AR has “broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven’t even thought of.”