Market Reality: Apple Unveils New ARKit & Dev Tools, Unreal Engine Comes to HoloLens 2, & North Expands Focals Pop-Ups

Apple Unveils New ARKit & Dev Tools, Unreal Engine Comes to HoloLens 2, & North Expands Focals Pop-Ups

While Apple's smartglasses development reportedly moves forward behind-the-scenes, the company continues to build on its AR software foundation in its mobile ecosystem with further iterations to its ARKit platform and the introduction of new AR development tools.

On the other hand, Microsoft is preparing its next-generation HoloLens 2 to hit the enterprise and developer sectors, and Epic Games is providing early access for Unreal Engine 4 support is a catalyst for the AR headset's release.

Elsewhere, North is continuing to push Focals smartglasses, and, in the parlance of Henry Rollins, the company is "getting in the van" to get the wearable in the hands of consumers.

Apple Advances ARKit & Challenges AR Software Industry with New Dev Tools

Like clockwork, Apple has unveiled the latest additions to its ARKit tookit at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, where ARKit first said hello to the world in 2017, as well as some new tools that take a direct shot at Unity, Unreal Engine, and others.

Coming to iOS 13 this fall, ARKit 3 will support people occlusion and motion capture. The latter will enable the camera to recognize people who are present in a scene and place virtual content behind and in front of them, while the former gives apps the ability to track moving bodies. But that's not all. Before showing off the new features of ARKit, Apple introduced two new development tools, RealityKit and Reality Composer.

Continue reading to find out more about ARKit's new superpowers and what the new tools will offer developers, then read further to find out what iPhone or iPad you'll need to run ARKit 3 apps...

Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: Aside from Pokëmon GO, augmented reality gaming has not quite taken the world by storm yet, but it has the potential to offer far more immersive experiences to gamers. Anders Erlandsson, senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab, explores how AR may fit into the gaming market.

Epic Games Rolls Out Unreal Engine Support for HoloLens 2

A major software tool first promised during the reveal of the HoloLens 2 earlier this year is finally available, as native support for Unreal Engine 4 has arrived for the HoloLens 2 via early access on GitHub (login required).

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney first announced the coming development on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, but it was at last month's Build conference where the world truly got a good look at some of the possibilities inherent in the pairing.

Read on to learn how Unreal Engine 4 will work with the HoloLens 2 and what input methods it will support...

REALITY BITES: Vuforia parent PTC earned the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in the mixed reality category. Meanwhile, back in its Reality Lab, the company is applying augmented reality to robotics via Frida, its mobile industrial robot.

North Hits the Road Again with Focals Pop-Up Stores Across North America

After testing the waters with a few pop-up stores along the West Coast earlier this year, North is bringing its smartglasses to more cities across the US and Canada.

With a presence at Amazon's re:Mars Conference this week in Las Vegas, North's summer tour started this week Vancouver and will continue on to Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ottawa throughout June. Parties interested in the smartglasses can book appointments in these cities now through the showrooms page on North's website.

Keep reading to find out where else North's tour will go and how the first tour's success has convinced the company to expand its roadshow...

Image by North/Twitter

REALITY BITES: With the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in the rearview mirror, a few interesting stats from the conference may lead more companies to dive into AR marketing. 8th Wall, winner of the Auggie Award for Best Development Tool, built 10 web-based AR portals to engage AWE attendees, who opened 3,779 portals via 1,336 unique devices, with 88 total hours logged. In addition, Zappar, whose work with 7-Eleven won the Auggie Award for Best Campaign, revealed the AR campaign collected more than 10 million engagements from customers, including 3.5 million for the Deadpool 2 promotion and two million for its fall football tie-in.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

Cover image via Apple/YouTube

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