​WWDC 2017: Apple launches augmented reality developer tools with ARKit

Apple is betting that ARKit can be the "largest AR platform in the world" in short order.

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Apple launched an augmented reality developer kit, dubbed ARKit, in a move that aims to blend its hardware, support for third-party frameworks, natural language, and vision APIs to create the "largest AR platform in the world."

ARKit, designed to be part of iOS 11, is notable because it aims to take Apple's installed iPhone base and enable developers to create augmented reality apps. The demos during the WWDC keynote were focused on games, but augmented reality has real enterprise uses too.

Read also: WWDC 2017: Apple positions Mac updates, Mac OS High Sierra for VR developers | WWDC 2017: iOS 11 revealed with more Siri smarts, AR support

"When you bring the software together with these devices, we have hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads capable of AR," said Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple. "Overnight will make ARKit the largest AR platform in the world."

Like Apple's move with virtual reality support, the company's efforts combine a mix of hardware updates as well as software. Another interesting effort could combine ARKit and apps with iOS improvements to maps to include malls as well as Apple Pay.

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