IKEA’s augmented reality app

It’s no coincidence that the Swedish home furnishing superstore IKEA timed the announcement of their AR app IKEA Place to drop shortly after Apple’s much anticipated announcement of their AR-optimized phones the iPhone 8 & iPhone X.

First announced back in June, the final release of IKEA Place will take advantage of Apple’s ARKit to not only match the proper scale, also apply the texture of the material, proper lighting and shadows.

“I think that augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet, only this time much faster” said Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA’s head of digital transformation, who leads a team of 70 that have been working the past nine weeks to load thousands of IKEA products into the app in preparation for release next week in conjunction with Apple’s iOS 11.

Dropping a virtual chair into your living room with true to scale is the perfect broad-scale use case for AR. Browsing furniture and sharing screenshots of them in situ before you make a big purchase is what will spread this new tech to the masses.

IKEA Heights

IKEA Heights is a mini-series shot entirely in the Burbank IKEA store without the store’s knowledge.

I think we’re seeing the birth of a new genre. Flash Concerts and Urban Camouflage performance art to name a few.

The Finns pronounce it ee-ki-ya by the way.

Update: More recent entries in this genre include The Ikea fashion shoot or family portrait and this YouTuber who faked an entire Bali vacation with photos she took inside Ikea.

I did not know it at the time I posted this (maybe he didn’t either?) but the 7-part series stars Randall Park who would go on to be a big star in the movie Always be My Maybe and the TV series, Fresh off the Boat.