If the future entails everyone clad in glasses mixing reality and digitizations, what will future social media platforms look like? That’s the question iOS developer Oscar Falmer asked when he started development for TweetReality, the first app to put Twitter inside an augmented reality space. The iOS app mixes your Twitter feed with your surroundings, putting Tweets into floating boxes to interact with.
TweetReality is made possible through Apple’s latest focus on AR using the ARKit launched earlier this year. Using those tools, Falmer developed a 3D space for displaying a Twitter feed. “My goal was to innovate in what the future will look like, mainly by thinking to the upcoming glasses we’ll all probably be wearing,” he wrote. “It was a lot of research about what is the best interface for humans interact within a 3D space, designing and coding.”
The app takes your feed and arranges the posts into a 3D grid, arranged in the shape of one end of a sphere, which is of course overlaid with the real world around you by using the iPhone (or iPad) camera. The app allows users to tap on the tweet to view the post larger along with options to like or retweet. On the edges of that grid of tweets, TweetReality offers options to navigate to more tweets, compose your own Tweet, search or access notifications.
TweetReality is an interesting take on what Twitter might look like in AR, but as Falmer’s comments suggest, the app is a basic idea that could be taken farther as AR progresses into the future. Twitter’s format makes the network ideal for tweeting about TV shows and sporting events as they air on TV, but augmented reality could mix tweets with live games, concerts, or events if the app adapted to display specific hashtags in real time. As The Verge points out, mixing relevant tweets with the real scene in front of you, and doing so while wearing glasses rather than looking through a phone screen, could bring the idea a bit further.
TweetReality is a free iOS app that’s compatible with iOS 11 or later on devices compatible with the ARKit, including the iPhone 6s, SE, 7, 8, X as well as the Plus versions of those models and the latest iPad Pro models.