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Apple and Pixar partner to push augmented reality

Augmented Reality is a technology that allows the digital world to, in a way, join the real world. Most often seen with smartphones and tablets, games and other apps will superimpose their characters and features on top of whatever image the device’s camera is pointed at.

When done right, it is really, really cool. The technology is continuing to improve, and as it does we are increasingly likely to see it used in different kinds of apps.

Because of that, it should not be a surprise when a big organization with an interest in technology not only notices, but jumps in to help push things further. That’s exactly what is happening here, as Apple is looking to have a greater stake in it all.

Apple + Pixar = even better AR

If you didn’t know, Apple on Monday began its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. As part of it all, new technologies, devices and updates were announced. One thing to come out of it was that Apple has partnered with Pixar to enhance their influence on the augmented reality world.

The animation studio behind films like “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Coco” and many more, Pixar would seem to be a natural fit. If Apple is truly serious about making their AR easy to access and enjoyable to use, who better than one of the leaders in 3-D animation to help?

The partnership is already paying off, with Apple and Pixar developing a new AR file format called “USDZ.” Designed to be compact and simple, it lets people share their AR content without losing 3-D graphics and animations.

The new format helps solve the problem of large file sizes with AR, and is being adopted by others.

When will we see it in action?

The USDZ format will be part of iOS 12, which is scheduled to be released in the fall. Files with AR content will be shareable through apps like Safari, Mail and Messages, while also being managed in the Files app.

Apple’s ARKit app is getting an update, too. ARkit was announced around this time one year ago as a platform for developing AR apps for both iPhone and iPad, and the 2.0 version will improve on it. The next iteration will allow for multiperson mode in AR games as well as virtual objects to be placed in an area and remain there.

There will be better face tracking, 3-D object detection and realistic rendering, too. Put together, the improvements should allow for developers to do far more than they have, finding new ways to utilize and implement the technology.

And with that, we are the real winners. Apple unveiled one more AR-related feature Monday, an app called “Measure.” True to its name, the idea is for it to detect an item’s dimensions and measurements through the camera.

Your smartphone’s camera can do a lot, including things you probably never realized

So about the WWDC, here’s a look at what happened while it was happening

Apple took the tech limelight once again as its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off Monday at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Check out what went down while it was happening with this blow-by-blow live blog of Apple’s big event.

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