Apple Clips gets AR Spaces thanks to LiDAR

Although it was one of the first on the mobile AR train with Project Tango, some may have felt that Google dropped the ball on that area. Professing more interest in AR than VR, Apple has been promoting the practical applications of its ARKit framework since day one, enabling experiences like placing furniture in your room to test them out, enhancing mapping and navigation tools, and the like. Of course, there's always room for some whimsical uses, like the new AR Spaces you can add to your video clips using the latest Clips app.

One of the earliest uses of AR on phones has been stickers that you can put on your face or follow your head. Later iterations put 3D objects inside the real world, often with the ability to detect whether they're on a table or the floor and place themselves behind other objects like couches or shelves. The latter application is heavily dependent on knowing the depth of real-world objects, a feat that Apple is now boasting thanks to its special hardware on iPhones and more recent iPad Pros.

That hardware is the LiDAR, of course, more powerful than your usual depth sensor or 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera found on most phones. In this particular application, the combination of Apple's hardware and software allows the devices not only to determine the shape of a room but also the objects inside it, their position, and their distance from the camera. In short, it knows which objects are in front and in the background and it works even for moving people or animals.

Version 3.1 of the Clips video editing app for iOS and iPadOS takes advantage of this integration in its new AR Spaces feature. Users will be able to see a live preview of special AR effects that will be placed properly on floors, walls, and, more importantly, behind people and furniture. Those effects include Disco, Confetti, and Stardust, just to name a few, and can even be mixed with other stickers and text labels already available in Clips.

Apple's announcement of the new LiDAR-powered AR Spaces for Clips also brings good news about new content every month. Monthly updates will add filters, stickers, and posters to fill every need, especially seasonal ones. And for those who like to keep up with the latest Clips news, the app now offers optional notifications when new content is added to the library.