IKEA and Apple Just Invented a Pokemon Go for Furniture Shopping


If a visit to the IKEA showrooms is the opposite of your idea of fun, how about a Pokemon Go-style experience for furniture buying instead, where you can sit at home and place IKEA furniture around your house — possibly without even leaving the couch? Thanks to Apple’s upcoming ARKit, that time is here.

Co.Design and the Wall Street Journal reported this week that IKEA and Apple teamed up to create “the next big thing in retail,” by collaborating on the development of an app that puts IKEA furniture right in your home.

Called the Apple ARKit, the new augmented reality technology is part of the upcoming iOS 11 update and will allow people the ability to hold up their Apple smartphones or tablets to see virtual IKEA tables, lamps, and couches, all at proper scale and in color, right inside their living space.

As explained by How Stuff Works, augmented reality blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and even smell. (Maybe the Swedish meatball smell-o-vision feature is coming in version 2.0?) On the spectrum between virtual reality, which creates immersive, computer-generated environments, and the real world, HSW says augmented reality is closer to the real world by allowing graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to be added to the natural world as it exists by giving users the ability to place computer-generated graphics in their field of vision.

A lamp placed on a table casts a shadow in a demo of Apple ARKit

(Image credit: MacRumors / YouTube)

For brands like IKEA and Apple, this type of augmented reality “gamification” is a way to stand out among their competitors and use that emotional high of “winning” in order to close the deal on selling product, according to recent piece on the business strategy by Forbes. The use of this type of gamification is memorable for potential buyers, and they may feel inclined to share their results with their social circles, as well.

There’s been a race to institute AR as part of online shopping, especially in the home space. Vintage resell site Chairish, online retailer Wayfair, and others are among those to have AR functionality. In fact, IKEA’s own catalog app has used 3D imagery to place furniture in your home since 2013.

Coupled with the announcement that you may be able to Amazon Prime your IKEA products starting in 2018, in-app purchases have the potential to become very addictive — and dangerous. You heard it here first: Friends don’t let friends drink and ARKit. Or maybe they encourage it…

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