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Apple unveiled its new augmented reality file format, as well as ARKit 2.0, at its annual WWDC developer conference today. Both will be available to users later this year with iOS 12.
The tech company partnered with Pixar to develop the AR file format Universal Scene Description (USDZ) to streamline the process of sharing and accessing augmented reality files. USDZ will be compatible with tools like Adobe, Autodesk, Sketchfab, PTC, and Quixel. Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis spoke briefly on stage about how the file format will have native Adobe Creative Cloud support, and described it as the first time “you’ll be able to have what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editing” for AR objects.
The ARKit 2.0 update will enable multiple people to share the same AR experience, which means folks will be able to play the same game at the same time. To showcase what this would look like, Lego’s director of innovation Martin Sanders took the stage at WWDC to show off a four-player AR game that turns a real-world Lego building into an interactive experience with animated characters.
Apple originally announced ARKit a year ago at WWDC 2017, and in the meantime, it has rolled out a 1.5 update that improved the way it maps the user’s environment as well as a new auto-focus feature. The framework arrived on Apple devices along with the iOS 11 update in September, and since then, AR-focused apps have been downloaded over 13 million times, thanks mostly to games.
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