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Apple showed off its new augmented reality technology today at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, California. The company’s new ARKit developer platform should enable AR developers to make apps that can run on hundreds of millions of existing iPads and iPhones.

I got a few hands-on demos of the software running on a new iPad, including the demo below of Star Wars Holochess, which is a take of the holographic chess game from A New Hope. You can play the game against any backdrop. In this case, the real tabletop served as the background for the game. In it, you simply tap a spot on the board where you want your monster to go. And if you tap on another monster, yours will attack it.

The demo was one of a number that showed Apple is at last quite serious about AR, as well as its cousin, virtual reality. In another AR demo, also shown below, Apple showed how you could put a virtual candle or a coffee cup on a table. If you put a lamp down and move it around, you’ll see that the shadow of the cup or the candle moves around as well. That makes the AR animations more realistic and believable. Clearly, though, the tech has a ways to go before you’ll mistake AR animations for something real.

Here’s a demo of Star Wars Holochess on Apple’s augmented reality platform.


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Here’s an extended version of the Apple AR demo.

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