Last month, BMW rolled out its playful take on augmented reality with Snapchat, and now the automaker is bringing that same immersive computing whimsy to iOS directly.
Using Apple's ARKit, the BMW i Visualizer app allows you to select and customize a life-sized version of the BMW i3, i3s, or i8 car while in any location.
But beyond simply giving you the ability to change the color of the cars and the style of rims, the app also allows you to step inside the vehicle to view detailed virtual reproductions of the interiors of the automobiles. You also have the ability to turn the car's lights on and off, turn the radio on or off, and even open its doors.
A two-fingered swipe allows you to spin the car around or you can simply walk around the car as I did when I tested the app in New York's Central Park. I used an iPad Pro to test it, and the experience was surprisingly realistic.
In fact, while recording, another car passed by and, because of the virtual car's realistic scale and shadowing, the real car almost looked as though it was occupying the same reality as the virtual vehicle.
We saw some early demonstrations of this kind of functionality soon after ARKit was first announced, most notably in the form of a virtual Tesla created by an independent developer. But this is a real application of ARKit produced by a major automaker, and the execution is so well done, it may actually lead to a few car sales.
An initial version of the app was launched earlier this year for Android devices on Google Play, but this is the first release of the free app on iOS using ARKit.
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