Amazon has launched an augmented reality shopping feature for its iOS mobile app that allows users to virtually view a variety of products, including small kitchen appliances, electronics gear and toys, among others, in their own room settings, according to an Amazon press release.
The feature, called AR View, leverages Apple's ARkit, meaning the feature is available to users of iPhones beyond the iPhone 6S who have loaded the iOS 11 update that became available in September.
Amazon has yet to discuss any plans for bringing AR View to Android mobile devices, according to CNET.
It took Amazon a few extra weeks to join the AR app crowd, but that may have been for promotional reasons, as the new feature was announced as part of a larger holiday shopping season announcement (because it just isn't the holiday shopping season until Amazon says so).
We've seen a lot of new AR apps launch since the iOS 11 update appeared on the scene a month and a half ago, and their arrival was preceded a couple months earlier by Apple's ARkit landing in the hands of app developers. Some recent AR apps, like ones from Target, Lowe's and Wayfair, have included features that show customers 3D images of furniture inserted into their own room settings, but Amazon's app might be one of the first to start broadening the list of AR-viewable items to things like toys — although Toys R Us and Walmart have experimented with using AR for toy-related experiences, like the Toys R Us digital playground and the Force Friday app.
Amazon said in its press release that more than 70% of its customers last holiday season shopped via a mobile device, so the new AR feature should give them even more reason to use the platform for their holiday shopping, and could translate to those users spending more time in the app as they size up how products look in real room settings.
Amazon's broader selection of viewable products might be where other AR apps need to go next. Sure, it doesn't necessarily make sense for every retailer to have 3D images of every product in their inventory available for AR viewing, but as more and more retailers adopt AR and customers become more used to the functionality, they will expect to see more products that way.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2017 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page and sign up for our holiday newsletter for more stories.