Think the big deal with the iPad 2′s rear-facing camera is all about snapshots and videos? Think again.
The augmented reality gurus over at Metaio sound pretty darn excited about the new iPad 2 for two key reasons. The first is obvious: it has a much larger screen, which makes the iPad much more useful for, say, mixed-reality games than the iPhone ever was. The second ingredient is the iPad 2′s new, explosively fast dual-core A5 processor.
This is what a Metaio spokesperson had to say about augmented reality on the iPad 2 in an email to us:
We were really surprised to see how powerful the 3D hardware is. It allows us to create really sophisticated virtual content and interaction concepts. And the iPad AR experience is just greater than on a small phone screen…AR will become a part of our daily lives, when AR experiences meet people, where they spend most their time: inside their homes or inside their workspaces.
Here’s where Metaio thinks AR on the iPad 2 will make a big splash:
Shopping: Virtual try-ons, like the one Metaio created with JC Penney in the clip at the end of the post; of course, the front-facing camera can be used on this case, so the result is kind of like a virtual mirror.
Print journalism: magazines and newspapers have already dipped a toe into the AR world, but the iPad 2 should increase the enthusiasm of publishers to embrace the technology because of its larger screen size.
Mixed-reality gaming: if what Metaio says about this angle turns out to be true, the iPad 2 might well spark a whole new genre of video game to explode in the gaming world — all thanks to its dual-core A5 processor, gyroscope and cameras that no doubt have mixed-reality game developers salivating.
Education: examples in textbooks that jump off the printed page are what Metaio says are the sort of thing we can expect in the near future — although this one seems kinda weird; isn’t the whole point of the iPad to cut down on the mass of traditional media? Gotta bet students would rather carry an iPad over 20 pounds of textbooks, even with all the date-winning sparkle of AR.
So, why the iPad 2 in particular, and not somethign on the Android platform? Because of all the experience Metaio says they’ve already had with iOS. The company’ll be rolling out stuff on the Android platform, sure, eventually. But we get it all first.