Amazon is rolling out a new augmented reality feature for iPhone users, dubbed AR view, that lets customers place virtual versions of products into real-world scenes before buying, allowing them to see how that toaster or coffee maker will look on the kitchen counter when the real one arrives.
The feature, developed using Apple’s ARKit, works with iOS 11 on iPhone 6S or later. It’s rolling out today as an update to the Amazon iPhone app. After updating, users can access the feature via the camera icon, choosing the AR view option. After selecting a product, it can be viewed from 360 degrees as the phone is moved around the virtual object to see it from different angles.
This is the latest example of augmented reality features finding practical uses in everyday life, starting on our phones. Amazon says it works with thousands of products at launch.
I’ve been giving AR view a try this morning and it works well so far for me. Here’s what a second lamp, at right, would look like on my desk at home.
I also found a hidden trick: When I shared this photo with my Mac via AirDrop from the app, it automatically loaded the product page for that lamp in a new browser tab on my computer. Convenient for customers, yes, but also very much to Amazon’s benefit, as well.
This plays into Amazon’s annual effort to build buzz and grab attention in advance of the peak holiday shopping season. The company unveiled the new feature as part of its announcement that its Black Friday Deals Store is now officially open.