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At WWDC this year, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi performed a demo of the company's new augmented reality platform, ARKit, while mentioning popular furniture company IKEA as an upcoming partner in the technology. Similarly, Apple CEO Tim Cook referenced an IKEA AR partnership in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Now, Ikea executive Michael Valdsgaard has spoken about the company's partnership with Apple and ARKit, describing an all-new augmented reality app that will help customers make "reliable buying decisions" for IKEA's big ticket items (via Digital.di) [Google Translate].

ikea-ar-app.jpg


When it launches, the app will let customers choose which IKEA product they want and then use an iPhone or iPad powered by ARKit to see how the IKEA furniture looks in their own home before it's purchased. IKEA has been doing this for years now, including an early version which required users to scan pages of an IKEA catalogue to view AR furniture, but the company said that Apple's platform will greatly increase the consistency and quality of the experience.

Valdsgaard said that the app will support between 500 and 600 IKEA products at launch with more being added afterwards. The augmented reality experience will even directly play into the development and launch of new products, as Valdsgaard explained that the company plans to first debut new pieces of furniture in the app to give customers a taste of what's coming.
"This will be the first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions," said Michael Valdsgaard, digital transformation manager at Inter Ikea Systems, the company that owns the brand Ikea.

Going forward, it will play a key role in new product lines. "When we launch new products, they will be first in the AR app."
Selling furniture directly within the app is a possibility as well, but isn't the company's focus for the first iteration of the software. Valdsgaard said, "Ideally, you could put a sofa in your home with the help of the app, and then with one click add it in the shopping cart on the site. But we have a tight deadline."

Several teams are working on the technology behind the augmented reality app, including one "innovation team" of 150 people located in Älmhult, Sweden -- where the first IKEA opened -- as well as a twenty-person team specifically responsible for the 3D modeling of furniture. The ARKit-powered IKEA app is expected to launch this fall, following the iOS 11 update.

Article Link: IKEA Details Plans for Furniture Placement App Powered by Apple's ARKit
 

dannys1

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2007
3,147
5,691
UK
This for me is the killer application of VR for people who aren't interested in gaming.

The only downside I see is you'd need the empty space in the room to see how it'd look. Eg you can't see how a new sofa will look whilst your old one is still there (unless Apple is working on recognising objects in the room with ML and attempting to replace them/covee them with AR, it might need dual depth lenses)
 

imnotarobot

macrumors member
Aug 3, 2015
37
76
My issue with this is what do you do with existing furniture in your house? Move it out into the garage so you can place AR content? ARKit doesn't help remove existing objects from the screen.
 

FactVsOpinion

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2012
316
506
My issue with this is what do you do with existing furniture in your house? Move it out into the garage so you can place AR content? ARKit doesn't help remove existing objects from the screen.
First of all, you may have an empty space, and second, there's no reason in principle why AR cannot find your floor (or other surface) and then overlay digital items on top of existing ones.
 

Avieshek

Suspended
Dec 7, 2013
701
1,128
India
We had Photoshoped people on Instagram (& Facebook) Now, house, furniture, a sports car, a life-partner... Indeed game changing. A drone and an empty field is all you need to show your Batcave as the technology progresses, no one knows on the other side of the world.
 

bitfactory

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2002
339
354
So that means this dork from Planet of the Apps is back to square one?
(yes I watched the first half of that God-forsaken garbage fire of a show).

db4jtiqwsaa14uz.jpg


He was saying they have the best marker-less AR on the market. :p
 
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shk718

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2007
1,118
1,098
Apple has opened the flood gates - giving simple easy access to AR ML to the independent programmer who, on their own, couldn't afford to write all the necessary code to make it work. I can't wait to see what the developers come up with. This will usher in the next wave of iPhone apps and change how we use our phones. Next step - hello glasses goodbye smart phones !!!!!
 
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asiga

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2012
956
1,240
It's not a good idea to talk of future products (software or hardware) until they are ready, or at least in beta testing stage. You become a slave of the words you said in an scenario that can change. Steve Jobs really applied this rule in its max extents, and never announced a product until you could buy it. I'm not really a fan of Ikea, but I sympathize their development team in this moment. A week ago they were free. Now they won't be free anymore until they release this app.
 

Vjosullivan

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2013
1,083
1,276
Yay, a furniture advert app. Is that really what everyone is drooling over? Reminds me of the BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs: Photo Adventure" that first appeared three years ago. Dinosaurs walking through a jungle on your desktop. Still on iTunes, I believe.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,871
15,006
In between a rock and a hard place
This for me is the killer application of VR for people who aren't interested in gaming.

The only downside I see is you'd need the empty space in the room to see how it'd look. Eg you can't see how a new sofa will look whilst your old one is still there (unless Apple is working on recognising objects in the room with ML and attempting to replace them/covee them with AR, it might need dual depth lenses)
Not really. People aren't really going to wear VR headsets to shop for furniture. VR is also cost prohibitive and impractical in this, and many other commercial applications. VR is probably going to be relegated to gaming and training sims.

AR on the other hand is primed for commercial applications such as this Ikea project. AR, from a consumers perspective, only requires the equipment we already own. No need for expensive nor cumbersome headsets and you don't lose the connection with the real world around you.

You can't really discuss AR and VR together. They are entirely separate technologies with entirely separate purposes.
 

jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,678
3,077
It's not a good idea to talk of future products (software or hardware) until they are ready, or at least in beta testing stage. You become a slave of the words you said in an scenario that can change. Steve Jobs really applied this rule in its max extents, and never announced a product until you could buy it. I'm not really a fan of Ikea, but I sympathize their development team in this moment. A week ago they were free. Now they won't be free anymore until they release this app.
As a developer myself this really isn't that complex of an app. The largest amount of work will be getting all their furniture as 3d models (Which likely already exist, but probably not in a friendly format.)

The example app from Apple using ARKit essentially already does this - places a 3d model into space at a fixed point. The "difficult" part will be coming up a UI that makes it simple for everyone to use.

They also have a head start since ARKit won't even be available for end users till the fall, four months is more than enough time to get something like this usable when the difficult parts are already implemented in ARKit (plane detection, size estimation, and point tracking)
 
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