Apple-Ikea app lets you arrange furniture on your iPhone

Need new furniture? Apple and Ikea are betting their upcoming augmented-reality app can get you shopping on your iPhone.

The smartphone and furniture giants are teaming up to develop an app where customers can overlay 3D models of furniture into their living rooms and bedrooms using only their iPhone, according to Ikea’s digital transformation manager Michael Valdsgaard.

“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 ecommerce site,” Valdsgaard told the Swedish news outlet Di Digital“It is our ambition, but I can not promise that it works in the first version.”

If all goes well, the unnamed Apple-Ikea app will be launched in fall after iOS 11 is rolled out to all supported iPhones. Apple expressed hopes that a new generation of AR apps from third-party developers will be rolled out after iOS 11 hits the market.

Valdsgaard said the app at launch will include models of 500 to 600 types of furniture, and will add more.

In a keynote speech at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month in San Jose, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly mentioned companies like Ikea using AR for its business.

“We’ve talked to Ikea, and they have 3D images of their furniture line,” said Cook. “You’re talking about changing the whole experience of how you shop for, in this case, furniture and other objects that you can place around the home.”

In working with Apple and its new AR platform called ARKit, Valdsgaard says he was most impressed by the technology’s “millimeter precise” positioning of the 3D models. In other words, the 3D models can be displayed in various angles and under different lighting without looking vastly out of place.

As I wrote in an article about ARKit last week, various AR developers also were impressed by how accurate their computer-generated overlays looked in real-life settings.

“The fact that Apple gets it this good with one or two cameras in its beta stage, it is pretty incredible,” said AR developer Adam Debreczeni. “It’s a good marker for how strong their AR team looks right now.”

Photo: Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, talks about augmented reality at the Worldwide Developers Conference at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose on June 5, 2017. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)


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