This summer Apple and Google both created a lot of headlines for Augmented Reality.

Apple with ARKit and Google with ARCore finally brought AR to the masses. But with so much news and examples for this, what technique should you choose when building an Augmented Reality app?

The difficult part of it simplified

Without getting into technical detail i’ll explain just how ARKit and ARCore works. There are some small differences between these two techniques but overall they work the same.

We’ve now seen you can place 3D objects on your desk or in your room with these techniques. To know where to place these 3D objects it mainly uses two things:

  • The camera on your smartphone
  • The sensors on your smartphone

The camera sees the environment arounds you, and the sensors feel your movement in the room.

Imagine being blindfolded and dropped in the middle of a city you’ve never been before.

You remove the blindfold, and want to know where you are. You slowly start to look around for recognizable names, buildings, and other features to determine exactly where you are.

This is exactly what the camera does when it’s looking around. It’s looking at recognizable features and saves these for later reference. By moving the camera, together with your sensors, your smartphone knows where those features went and based on this your smartphone knows exactly where you are.

This explains why you need to “scan” your room when starting an ARKit / ARCore enabled app. You need to feed your camera and sensors with information for it to know where you are.

The differences between ARKit and ARCore

As said before, ARKit and ARcore work in a similar way. The differences between these two techniques are so small that regular consumers won’t even see it. ARKit has a bit more reliable tracking, where ARCore has a bit more reliable recovery. But again, the differences are too small to notice.

For now the biggest difference between them is the compatibility with their corresponding OS.

Apple released ARKit for devices with an A9 computerchip or newer. This means the following devices are supported:

  • iPhone 6S / 6S Plus
  • iPhone 7 / 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPad Pro (9.7”, 10,5”, 12.9”) both 1st-gen and 2nd-gen
  • iPad (2017)
  • iPhone 8 / 8 Plus
  • iPhone X

For ARCore it’s a different situation. Google needs to scan the hardware of each individual smartphone model to adjust ARCore to work for that specific smartphone model. The amount of smartphones compatible with ARCore will significantly increase, but right now is limited to these devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Google Pixel / Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL

Which is best for me?

In short: both are best for you.

We create apps with Augmented Reality for iOs and Android that run both ARCore and ARKit, so you don’t have to choose. For users with non-compatible smartphones we integrate Vuforia with image recognition, so your target audience isn’t limited to the smartphones previously mentioned.

We do believe content is king. Start with what your users need or want, not with what’s techniqally possible.

Because as far as we’re concerned, everything is possible.