With the release of iOS 11.3 in beta form, developers have been given plenty of new things with which to play.

One of those is an update to ARKit, the framework that makes augmented reality something that iPhones can handle without the need for any additional hardware.

The original incarnation of ARKit in iOS 11 was almost magic in its capabilities, and with ARKit 1.5, Apple has given developers the tools to ratchet things up a notch. Similarly to when iOS 11 betas were around, developers have been taking to social media to show off what ARKit 1.5 can do, and it’s impressive stuff.

With the updated framework, ARKit 1.5 can now map irregularly shaped surfaces, making it capable of detecting surroundings more accurately. It can also map and recognize vertical surfaces, meaning walls, doors, and windows are now in play. Developers have been taking advantage of that fact in particular, with some of them showing off things like tunnels appearing in real life walls or cockatoos flying into a room and walking around. Neither of those things were possible in the original implementation of ARKit, showing just what something seemingly simple can do for the framework’s capabilities.

There are plenty of videos out there showing off what can be done with ARKit 1.5, and we don’t think for one minute that we have seen them all. Right now, my favorite has to be that cockatoo video, but another impressive offering takes advantage of ARKit’s newfound ability to carry out image detection. That means that a barcode can be scanned, or a book mapped with information then displayed either on-screen or projected into the virtual world.

Try as we might, we simply cannot avoid calling this magic, and we cannot wait to see apps taking advantage of ARKit 1.5 when iOS 11.3 ships to the public this spring.

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