Ikea and Apple will put virtual furniture in your living room – CNET

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At WWDC, Apple demoed how you can place virtual objects in real life settings using its AR tech.

James Martin/CNET

Don’t you hate it when you spend hours Allen-wrenching a Dyfjord only to find it doesn’t fit in your closet? Don’t you wish you could’ve seen what it would look like before you built it? That’s the power of augmented reality.

Ikea, the famous flat-pack furniture manufacturer, is working on an app that will digitally overlay true-to-size furniture using Apple’s new ARKit technology. Looking through the window of an iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to see how Ikea’s furniture could look in your home before you have to buy or assemble anything.

Apple unveiled ARKit at its WWDC conference earlier this month, naming the Swedish furniture company as one of its partners, but other details were scarce. Now, thanks to an interview with Ikea digital transformation manager Michael Valdsgaard at Di Digital, we’re getting a little more information on the fruits of that partnership.

According to Valdsgaard, the app will have realistic 3D renders of 500-600 pieces of furniture upon its launch, with more items being added sporadically. Ikea also hopes to add a feature that lets you buy furniture from the app after you virtually map it out in your house.  

Just don’t be surprised if the app doesn’t have the exact rocking chair you want at launch — IKEA’s full catalog includes tens of thousands of items. 

We already knew that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a big fan of AR, calling the technology “huge” and claiming it has more potential than VR. But in order to get behind Cook’s excitement, we’ll need to see some real world applications of the technology — besides just catching Pokemon. The Ikea app, which is reportedly aiming to launch in the autumn when iOS 11 is available, could be a good example.

Ikea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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