Thoughts on ARKit 2.0 at WWDC

  • In our meetings with AR companies at Augmented World Expo (AWE) this week, it’s clear the industry is waiting for Apple to announce ARKit 2.0 at WWDC.
  • Improvements in persistence and multiplayer functions are two of the most requested additions for ARKit 2.0.
  • Separately, we believe Apple could announce a new iPad with Face ID and advanced 3D-sensing for AR apps.

Multiplayer and persistent sessions most requested ARKit developer features. We believe Apple will announce ARKit 2.0 at WWDC next week. After meeting with several AR companies, it’s clear there are two important tools that developers need in order to advance AR, including improvements to multi-player and persistence. Multiplayer allows several participants to view the same virtual layer simultaneously and from different angles. The use case for multiplayer is straightforward for gaming, but non-gaming could be powerful as well. Take, for example, multiple engineers simultaneously working on a machine using AR. The second most requested feature, persistence, involves virtual objects remaining in place between sessions. For example, if you place a virtual picture on the wall, exit, then resume a session, the picture should maintain its position. This is a difficult but necessary component of compelling AR experiences.

iPad with Face ID. Face ID is currently on iPhone X only, but we believe, consistent with other reports, it will be added to the iPad this year. The advanced 3D-sensing needed for Face ID requires a VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) array next to the front-facing camera. We expect this feature to be added only to the iPad Pro lineup. This would also help short-range AR, but front-facing AR has very limited use cases. We expect Apple to add a higher-powered, rear-facing array to iPhones and perhaps iPads within the next several years.

Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics. From time to time, we will write about companies that are in our portfolio.  Content on this site including opinions on specific themes in technology, market estimates, and estimates and commentary regarding publicly traded or private companies is not intended for use in making investment decisions. We hold no obligation to update any of our projections. We express no warranties about any estimates or opinions we make.