10 Cool Ideas for How Brands Might Use Apple’s Augmented-Reality Platform

From virtual test drives to interior design

Soon you'll be able to visualize a new car in your driveway using ARKit.
Jelmer Verhoog

Since Apple released ARKit in June, developers have been having a field day building all sorts of cool use cases, many of which could easily be adopted by marketers and brands.

ARKit is still in beta but will be released more widely alongside the iOS 11 software this fall. In the meantime, Digi-capital, a firm that advises augmented-reality and virtual-reality companies, has already collected more than 200 YouTube videos to show what’s possible. The company is also featuring AR and VR videos from developers on its Twitter account.

If ARKit is the juggernaut many are predicting it will be, it’ll make existing examples like Pokemon Go and Snapchat filters look like amateur hour. Check out these 10 cool examples of how ARKit can be used:

1.Visualize a menu

Developed by Alper Guler

Imagine never having to remember to bring reading glasses to a restaurant, being able to dine anywhere in the world without requesting the menu in a specific language or simply knowing exactly what you’re going to get every time you order. Guler’s use case allows users to scan a menu and immediately see a 3-D rendering of any item, as well as potentially nutritional information.

2. Virtually decorate a space

Developed by Asher Vollmer

In the future, you won’t have to worry about how a new sofa or coffee table will look in a room—you’ll simply be able to use ARKit to select and drop them in place. This will be a massive boon for online furniture retailers and decorators, who will no longer have to worry about pieces not working in a space or meshing together.

3. Shop smarter

Developed by Jacqui Hyslop

While this early use hints at the possibilities for using AR to virtually decorate, there are other shopping applications that could revolutionize retail. For instance, a user could hold up an item of clothing in front of a phone, and ARKit could immediately connect and show off the matching handbag, shoes and lipstick along with directions for how to purchase each item.

4. Show people exactly where to go

Developed by Andrew Hart

Hart’s demo, which allows users to see a line superimposed on the real world as they follow directions to the nearest coffee shop, is great for people who don’t want to be buried in their phones while they navigate. But this is only the beginning for directions. Google has plans to start mapping interiors of spaces, meaning you can not only find directions to the drugstore, but also exactly which aisle to find a new toothbrush. A future use case for a grocery store might involve a user uploading a recipe and being directed to each ingredient, which not only provides a great user experience but a wealth of data for the store.

5. Help users step into another world

Developed by Nedd

Unlocking a portal to another dimension isn’t only possible in the fictional realm anymore. This use case lets people step into and out of other worlds right on their phones. It could be great for educational purposes, letting people visit other eras to see what a street looked like 15, 20 or 100 years ago. Brands could also allow users to virtually leave a crowded sidewalk or subway car and be spirited away to a new, more magical place.

6. Encourage beauty or forecast destruction

Developed by Cabbibo

For marketers who care about making the planet a better place, ARKit can be used to show people what a more beautiful planet might look like, with concrete sidewalks being taken over by flowers. On the flip side, it would be possible to create a more dystopian view, showcasing what could happen to a space during a flood or other natural disaster.

7. Pair with VR to inspire more creativity

Developed by Normal VR

AR and VR can work seamlessly together in cases like this one, in which ARKit was used to bring to life visualizations made in Google Tilt Brush. Brands can use this to let customers explore their artistic sides and set up spaces like this in retail outlets to draw more people in and give them a reason to stick around.

8. Real estate firms can always be virtually selling

Developed by Justin Miller

A simple walk around a neighborhood can help spark housing sales. This application lets users see basic data about homes as they stroll by. Rather than having to wait and ask an agent if something looks interesting, they can get basic data to help them make smarter decisions about which properties are worth pursuing.

9. Surprise loyal customers with virtual (and real) prizes

Developed by Aaron Ng

Open an app and if you’re the lucky guy or gal, product can rain down on you in AR, and you’ll be able to unlock an IRL reward.

10. See how a new car looks in the driveway

Developed by Jelmer Verhoog

This Norwegian developer is making his wait for a new Tesla a little easier by using ARKit to imagine what it’ll look like once it finally makes it to his driveway. For carmakers, this is a great example of helping people visualize something they will then want to make real, and for dreamers, seeing what that sports car will look like might give them the extra push to go out and hustle.