Apple CEO Tim Cook views augmented reality as revolutionary technology, and popular furniture company Ikea has stepped up to share that vision.
The two companies have teamed up to create a new augmented reality app to help customers make "reliable buying decisions" when purchasing Ikea products.
Apple, Ikea Augmented Reality Partnership
At WWDC 2017, Apple demonstrated the ARKit, the company's augmented reality platform for developers looking to creating apps powered by the technology.
At the conference, Ikea was mentioned in the iOS 11 keynote as a partner for the ARKit, with the goal of "changing the whole experience" of how customers shop for items such as furniture.
Not much else was known about the partnership about Apple and Ikea. However, in an interview, Ikea digital transformation manager Michael Valdsgaard told Swedish website Digital.di what the company's plans are for augmented reality and its partnership with Apple.
Ikea is revealed to be developing an app that utilizes pictures that customers take of their homes. The app will position photo-realistic renders of furniture on top of where the customer thinks about placing them in their home. For example, customers who are not sure if a sofa would look good in their home can place a render of the furniture on the picture of their living room.
Ikea has had an augmented reality catalog app for years, with an early version allowing customers to scan pages of an Ikea catalog to take a look at furniture in augmented reality. However, the partnership with Apple and the usage of the ARKit will improve the app's quality and consistency.
According to Valdsgaard, the augmented reality technology of Apple is so good, allowing for the positioning of furniture to be precise down to the millimeter. The augmented reality versions of the products are accurate in terms of size and their lighting according to the customer's image of their homes.
There will be between 500 to 600 Ikea products available on the augmented reality app upon its launch, with more to be added. The company is currently developing the app as an in-store tool, but there are plans to allow users to use the app in their homes and then place the furniture that they like in the shopping cart of Ikea's e-commerce website to purchase them.
Ikea is hoping to launch the app alongside the rollout of iOS 11, which will debut in the fall alongside Apple's new iPhone models. However, Valdsgaard admitted that the deadline is tight, which means that the app may be delayed from that timeframe.
There is no official name yet for the app, but Valdsgaard suggested PLATSA, which means "to belong" or "to place" in Swedish.
Apple And Augmented Reality
Apple and Cook are excited for augmented reality, with the company investing resources into the development of the technology.
Augmented reality could be the "next big thing" for Apple, especially as the company looks to integrate the technology into its flagship product, the iPhone. There are also rumors that Apple is working on augmented reality glasses, as suggested by leaked safety reports.