Ikea and Apple building AR app that’ll let you try out virtual furniture at home

Ikea is co-building a new augmented reality app together with Apple that will allow customers to try out virtual furniture at home, and then buy it.

Built on ARKit, Apple's new framework for powering augmented reality experiences on iOS devices, the app will basically superimpose tables, chairs and other furniture on top of your room, as seen through the lens of an iOS device's camera.

The app leverages ARKit's scene understanding and lighting estimation features that permit it to automatically find horizontal planes like tables and floors in a scene, as well as track and place objects on smaller feature points. ARKit even applies the correct amount and type of light to any virtual objects to match the current lighting conditions in your room.

According to a local report in Di Digital, the app is launching in the Fall of 2017, shortly after iOS 11 releases for public consumption.

“This will be the first augmented reality app that will enable you to make buying decisions,” said Michael Valdsgaard, Leader of Digital Transformation at Inter Ikea, to Di Digital. The executive couldn't promise that the in-app payment feature will work in the first version of the app.

The app will launch with 500-600 products available in AR. “When we launch new products in the future, they will first appear in the AR app,” Valdsgaard says.

Ikea said recently that its LED bulbs and other smart lighting products would soon gain compatibility with HomeKit, Apple’s smart home management platform.

At WWDC 2017, Apple announced a number of improvements for HomeKit, including software-based encryption that could enable existing non-HomeKit-compliant devices to gain support for HomeKit via a simple firmware update.

Upcoming HomeKit support will let you voice-control your Ikea smart lighting

Furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories giant Ikea announced on Tuesday that its inexpensive Trådfri smart lighting system will soon gain support for HomeKit, Apple's smart home management platform.

German publication iPhone-ticker.de reports that Ikea is readying a software update to its Trådfri app to make its smart lighting products controllable not only via Apple's HomeKit system, but also through Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers.

The new firmware update should arrive in the summer.

HomeKit will let you use Siri to voice-control Ikea's smart bulbs and incorporate HomeKit-enabled Ikea products in your custom scenes through Apple's Home app on iPhone and iPad.

The official Trådfri app, seen below, allows different family members to easily customize the light and atmosphere however they want, depending on their activity (i.e. choose a light for early mornings, another for late evenings and a third for cooking or working at home).


Announced in March 2017, Ikea's extensive smart lighting lineup sports plug-and-play simplicity at significantly lower prices than similar systems from the likes of Philips and others.

Starting at $12 a piece, for instance, Ikea's smart bulbs cost half as much as Philips' Hue range at $30 per white bulb (goes all the way up to $50 per bulb if you want color). With Ikea's app, you can dim, turn off, turn on and switch your Ikea smart bulbs from warm to cold light.

The full range of smart lighting systems from Ikea includes LED bulbs, dimming lights, illuminated panels, a motion sensor kit and a gateway device. It was unclear at the time of this writing whether or not Ikea is planning on eventually making its whole range of smart products for the connected home compatible with the HomeKit platform, which would be splendid.

Fun Friday: IKEA spoofs iPad ads, Joy of Tech pokes fun of Apple’s product cycle

Ikea channels Jony Ive to promote its 2015 furniture catalog, Joy of Tech spoofs the seven phases every true Apple fan goes through in between product launches — dang, it must by a Friday!

To help you get prepared for the weekend, I've cherry-picked a pair of linkbait memes that've been making rounds this week. You should find the Ikea video amusing and the Joy of Tech comic hilarious as you head out for the weekend, your very last weekend before Apple's big reveal on Tuesday changes everything, all over again.