Apple is turning your iPhone into a powerful, virtual tape measure with a cool new app
- On Monday, Tim Cook and other Apple executives kicked off the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference - Apple's annual multi-day conference - with a keynote.
- In it, they discussed updates software developers could expect to see from Apple in the coming months, like the Measure app that uses Apple's latest AR technology and camera to take measurements of objects.
- It's a basic functionality - perhaps the most basic use case of AR - that fills a need Apple hasn't addressed with its native apps before.
Apple announced that this year's release of iOS 12 for iPhone will come with a brand-new app, called Measure.
Measure does exactly what you'd think from the name: Helps you take measurements of real-world objects. The clever part is that Measure is much more than just a simple ruler: It uses your iPhone's camera to virtually take accurate readings, letting you see the width, length, and height of things just by tapping your screen.
Apple Senior VP of engineering Craig Federighi gave a demo of the app during Apple's keynote presentation of the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference - Apple's annual multi-day conference, where executives show software developers what they can expect from Apple in the coming months.
In the demo, Federighi traced lines from his screen, and a pop-up window displayed the real distance he traced. He could then add lines for multiple dimensions. Next, he put a picture on the table, and the app gave him the dimensions of the rectangle - perfect for framing, for example, but probably also possible with tables or other rectangular furnishings.
Measure takes advantage of ARkit, Apple's technology for augmented reality (AR), the technology for overlaying digital imagery over the real world. It's a basic functionality, and possibly the most basic use of AR, but it's a need that Apple hasn't previously addressed.
"A critical part about enabling AR is accurate measurement," said Federighi. "We wanted to enable everyone to take advantage of this capability."
Cooler still: If you point Measure at a photo, it'll automatically detect it and return the dimensions. Like so:
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