Online shopping giant Shopify literally cannot wait for ARKit 2.0 to arrive via iOS 12 this fall to implement its latest augmented reality feature.
This week, the company began giving users the opportunity to test out Apple's AR Quick Look tool, which displays 3D content in augmented reality. Currently, iPhone and iPad owners running the iOS 12 beta can try the feature via Shopify's Magnolia webstore to see just how quick and smooth AR Quick Look is. You can also check out a few examples of the how the tool works via Apple's AR Quick Look gallery.
The feature is made possible in part by the new USDZ specification, the file format based on Pixar's Universal Scene Description protocol that Apple is adopting with ARKit 2.0 on iOS 12. The file format also makes it easier for consumers to share AR experiences (and not just images and video of the content) with others.
Shopify's aim is to enable retailers to upgrade their webstores with augmented reality rather than develop mobile apps and try to persuade customers to download those apps. On Shopify's platform, images with USDZ files associated with them on retail websites will carry an ARKit badge indicating that the pictured item can be viewed in augmented reality.
"For the past three years, Shopify has been exploring how AR / VR will change the way consumers shop. Last year, we showed how Apple's ARKit could be used to provide compelling AR commerce experiences," wrote Daniel Beaumont, head of AR/VR at Shopify, in a blog post. "With iOS 12's AR Quick Look, 3D models of products in the USDZ file format can be uploaded directly to online Shopify stores and viewed in AR right within Safari, without needing to download a separate app."
Parties interested in adopting the platform for their webstores can register for more information on Shopify's website.
Apple showed off its forthcoming web-based augmented reality capabilities during the augmented reality segment of its WWDC 2018 keynote.
During the keynote, Craig Federighi, vice president of senior vice president of software engineering, demonstrated how AR Quick Look functions with Apple's News app, enabling readers to interact with 3D content within articles in a fashion reminiscent of the experience in the NY Times app.
Federighi also showed off a web-based example via Fender's webstore, which foreshadowed Shopify's implementation. It's worth noting that we got a hint at Shopify's special Apple access thanks to Tim Cook's visit to its office earlier this year.
Between Apple's AR Quick Look, WebXR, a protocol advocated by Google and Mozilla, and gITF, the open source 3D file format that Facebook, Meta, and much of the AR industry favors, augmented reality is about to become much more prevalent on the mobile web.
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