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IKEA has officially announced that it’s teaming up with Apple to launch an ARKit-powered augmented reality app in the fall with the launch of iOS 11, according to a new report.
The app will allow users to “place” virtual IKEA furniture at home in real-time through an iOS device’s display. As seen when ARKit was announced during WWDC ’17, the app will allow smaller objects to be displayed on surfaces such as tables via the development platform’s surface identification and measurement capabilities. “This will be the first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions,” IKEA’s Leader of Digital Transformation Manager Valdsgaard told the Swedish-language Di Digital.
At launch, the app will feature around 500 to 600 of the furniture company’s products — with more to come after it’s rolled out. In fact, Valdsgaard hinted that newly launched IKEA products might be featured on the app even before they’re displayed at brick-and-mortar IKEA outlets. While shopping directly in the app is definitely a planned feature, Valdsgaard admitted that it might not be included in the first version. The app’s name has yet to be announced, but it might be something Swedish, Valdsgaard hinted — perhaps “Platsa,” a Swedish word for “location.”
ARKit was first unveiled during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and the augmented reality developer’s toolkit is slated for launch in iOS 11. While the app will work with most of Apple’s iPhones and iPads with 64-bit architecture, some AR features will be limited to devices running on newer chipsets. According to Apple, at launch, ARKit will turn iOS into the world’s largest augmented reality platform overnight.
Though Valdsgaard emphasized that IKEA will remain, first and foremost, a furniture company, the AR app is just one part of its greater tech ambitions. While physical storefronts will remain IKEA’s flagship, Valdsgaard said that the company plans to supplement them with a variety of tech, mobile and social media ventures — augmented reality being one of those. “When you push into AR, you need to understand tech. You can’t do that just by understanding sofas,” he said.