The official reveal of Apple’s new iPhones is right around the corner – but even if you’re not planning to grab the shiny new iPhone 8, there’s a really big development coming with iOS 11 that will breathe a new lease of life into existing devices: Augmented Reality (AR).

Apple first announced ARKit at its WWDC event back in June, and developers have had since then to play with the technology. And boy, have they been busy. Apple recently invited TechCrunch to preview some of the most promising apps in development to get an idea what the first wave of AR apps will be like.

Kids’ favorite The Very Hungry Caterpillar exploring a real life playground

The demos show a wide range of uses for the platform, which incidentally will work with any device compatible with iOS 11. They all involve pointing your camera at your environment and watching some kind of virtual element spring into life in your house or garden – and they all seem to be united by a lack of conventional interface controls, preferring instead more intuitive systems involving pointing and panning the camera.

Amongst the demos were apps that allow users to realistically preview furniture in their homes, decorate virtual desserts on your kitchen table, or bizarrely hang GIFs and memes in 3D space. There were impressive interactive apps based on the Very Hungry Caterpillar books and the Walking Dead series. And a game in which the player circles around a level finding the right perspective to solve puzzles.

Check out the video above for a hands-on experience of IKEA’s new app, or scan through the entire TechCrunch piece for more details on all the other apps. Remember, these apps have been built in just a couple of months – imagine what kind of stuff we’ll see over the next year. One thing’s for certain, the future’s looking bright for AR.