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IKEA plans to improve AR shopping tools with help from Apple

You’ll be able to see how furniture fits in your home before committing to hours of assembly.
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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple and IKEA are creating an AR app that will let customers preview how an item will look in their home. Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA's digital transformation manager, told Swedish website Digital.di, "This will be the first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions."

In the first version, customers will take photos of their homes and use the app to place images of IKEA products wherever they might want them. Valdsgaard said users will be able to position products with millimeter precision and sizing of the products will be to scale. Eventually, customers may be able to try out products and then order them through the app.

The IKEA catalog app sort of lets you do this now, but not with much accuracy. In it, you can click on a piece of furniture and see it superimposed over whatever your camera is pointed towards. You can drag the furniture around and get an idea of what it might look like in your home and you can even use the app to make sure the size is accurate. But Valdsgaard says the new app will be better with the help of Apple's technology and experience with AR.

IKEA isn't the only retail company with AR shopping experiences. Both Lowe's and Pottery Barn have apps that let you get an idea of how furniture and appliances will look in your home. Lowe's even uses AR to help customers navigate their stores and VR to give lessons on how to successfully complete certain home improvement projects.

Valdsgaard says they would like to have the app available by the iOS 11 debut, but that it may not be possible. IKEA expects to have 500-600 products available on the app at launch.

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