Amazon puts Apple's mobile AR tech to use

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Amazon has introduced an augmented reality tool, giving customers an easy way to see how an item would look placed on any particular surface using a smartphone camera.

Accessible within the Amazon app, AR view enables customers to select an image from thousands of available items—furniture and home décor are at the forefront—and overlay it in in their present environment, Amazon said in a Wednesday press release.

Limitations include the fact that AR view works only with newer iOS devices (iPhone 6S or later), because it harnesses Apple’s ARKit. The tool also requires users to move the camera screen around to find a workable “surface,” such as a floor, wall or tabletop, to display objects before the selected item appears.

This can create some awkward combinations, such as placing a large chair atop a small desk, but the concept underscores retailers’ eagerness to explore augmented reality even before it’s fully evolved.

“AR view helps customers make better shopping decisions by allowing them to visualize the aesthetic and fit of products in their own living space,” Amazon said in the release.

Makeup marketer Max Factor and IKEA were among the first wave of merchants to use augmented reality to enhance online shopping with smartphone camera-based tools enabling consumers to overlay images to virtually try out products.

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