Horray. Apple announced today in their Music Event, that the new iPhone operating system3.1 is here (should be available in the next couple of hours).
What’s so great about it?
We were the first to publish the upcoming news when the Beta SDK 3.1 came out in mid July in our post: Has Augmented Reality Arrived to the iPhone?
Simply put – it offers a new API that allows to overlay graphics on a live video stream.
This is great news for Augmented reality (AR) browser applications such as Layar and Wikitude (for more examples see right side bar). Although similar applications have sneaked into the app store before – I am sure it’s great to finally be legit on the store.
However, 3.1 provides only semi support for AR apps.
When you want to align graphics with real world things (like markers or other objects) – you need to be able to analyze the live video stream off of the iPhone camera. This functionality is only available as a private API on the iPhone (even with 3.1). It’s technically possible, but Apple may not allow such an app on the App store.
By the way, when I say “support” I do not mean by any means that Apple provides AR capabilities on the iPhone. Some folks in the press got that impression from the flood of headlines announcing support for AR on the iPhone…
To clarify, AR companies still need to do the heavy lifting such as AR detection and tracking; bearing the ripe fruits of many years of research and development.
So AR is not yet totally legit on the iPhone. But we are getting closer.
Thank you Apple!