If you've been putting off upgrading your iPhone or iPad, you might want to start shopping for a current-generation device to take advantage of the latest capabilities in ARKit 3.
After relegating the reveal of ARKit 3 to the back half of the WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple left some key information about compatibility out of the general presentation. According to developer documentation, ARKit 3 will only work on iPhones or iPads running on the A12 or A12X Bionic chips along with the TrueDepth camera.
That means that only the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, the 2019 editions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini, and the latest versions of the iPad Pro (both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models) are viable for those interested in ARKit 3.
Among the new features coming to iPhone and iPad apps via ARKit 3 are people occlusion, motion capture, multiple faces tracking, simultaneous front and rear camera world tracking, and collaborative sessions between two or more users, as well as improvements to existing AR features.
The somewhat limited support for ARKit 3 hasn't impeded developers from taking to social media to show off what they can do with the toolkit in the iOS 13 beta. For example, Tim Fields, founder of spatial mapping startup Abound Labs, demonstrated full-body masks and people segmentation. Meanwhile, Alberto Taiuti of Slide AR showed off some martial arts moves through body motion tracking.
While Apple takes every opportunity to brag about the adoption rates of its latest OS versions versus the comparatively abysmal track-record of Android, the company simply has to cut off some older devices from newer features. The same was true for the original ARKit, but that device set enjoyed the same privileges for ARKit 1.5 and ARKit 2.0.
Sure, it would be easy to call this "planned obsolescence," but advanced features need more computing power to run reliably. However, the limited hardware support opens up possibilities for other AR toolkits, such as AR Foundation in Unity or 8th Wall, to engineer solutions for devices left behind.