The iPhone maker is also partnering with Adobe on a new file format for augmented reality.
Richard NievaFormer senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
The company on Monday announced a new version of ARKit, Apple's set of tools that let developers create augmented reality apps for
. The updated version will have multi-user functions, so more than one person can see the same AR experience at the same time.
For the uninitiated, augmented reality, or AR, overlays digital graphics over things you'd normally see in the real world -- like the flower crown you'd see in a Snapchat filter or the wild pokemon running around in Pokemon Go.
Apple isn't the only tech giant investing heavily in AR.
has its own version of ARKit, called ARCore, that gives developers the tools to create AR apps for Android
. Facebook has its own platform that lets developers make AR apps for the social network, called Camera.
VR and AR, while nascent markets today, are expected to explode over the next several years. Consumers are expected to buy 22 million VR and AR headsets and glasses this year, according to a report from CCS Insight. In 2022, the number should soar fivefold to 120 million units, the analyst firm said, noting the market could be worth nearly $10 billion at that point.
Apple has been working on a high-power headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, CNET reported in April. Plans so far call for an 8K display for each eye -- higher resolution than today's
-- that would be untethered from a computer or smartphone. Instead, Apple's headset would connect to a dedicated box using a high-speed, short-range wireless technology.
Watch this: Apple's ARKit 2 goes multiplayer on iOS 12