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Apple to partner with Ikea on first major augmented reality apps

Augmented Reality (AR) is set to be big this year – Apple already announced at WWDC it would be opening up its own developer kit to make it easier for people to build AR apps. Now it’s been revealed that Ikea will be teaming up with Apple to release some impressive apps for iOS 11 to take advantage of the new technology.

As revealed in this post from 9to5Mac, Ikea is planning to go all-in on AR. Its first big project is to create an app to help customers preview furniture in their own homes before committing to a purchase. Users would simply point the iPhone camera towards a space in their house and choose an item of furniture, which could then be placed in the room for a live 3D visualization.

What the article doesn’t note is that Ikea already has an app which does this – but it’s a little limited. The new AR capabilities of iOS 11 should mean that any new developments are way more impressive. Ikea’s digital transformation manager said that Apple’s new AR tech is “millimeter precise” and gives them the chance to place furniture in a room with more realism than ever before.

Ikea’s existing AR is ok, but the new one should be miles better

It’s also worth noting that this new partnership sets the stage for Ikea to make its latest smart home appliances compatible with HomeKit. This could be a big step in making this technology affordable, as Ikea recently launched a smart lighting range which was far cheaper than existing brands but only worked with a proprietary Ikea system.