Bringing the Apple Store to the home with Augmented Reality

Ethan Saadia
3 min readMay 28, 2020

Since COVID-19 forced the closing of nearly all Apple Stores worldwide in March, Apple fans and customers have been shopping and admiring the latest products from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Starting with the Mac Pro announced at WWDC 2019, Apple has provided an AR Quick Look experience for new products to visualize them in your own space. However, I wanted to bring the entire store experience to the home and immerse users in a room full of shiny new iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices.

A Mac Pro in AR Quick Look

The first step for building the AR Apple Store was clear: make the tables! The Apple Store tables are iconic, so I downloaded a few photos to take measurements and quickly modelled one in 3D. After applying a wood texture, the end result looks just like the real tables!

Now that I built the tables, I had to populate them with products! One table includes a taste of every product, another showcases the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, a third features the MacBook Pro 16" and iPad Pro, and the last displays a floating collection of the latest iPhone lineup.

The resulting Apple Store looks even more stunning in augmented reality. To add interactivity, I added animations to some products that are activated by touch. It displays a label with the product name, but there is room to add product information or even an Apple Pay button for purchasing products in AR. This project is a great example of the opportunities for shopping in AR, combining the visual advantages of retail with the convenience of online shopping.

I filmed a couple walkthroughs of the experience and posted them to Twitter, and the response was incredible! The two videos combined received 30,000 views, and Tim Cook himself liked my first tweet. I even found my project in an Apple blog and podcast from Germany.

It was amazing to see how the AR Apple Store brought joy to so many people while staying at home, and I enjoyed seeing photos of creative remixes posted online. I created the experience with Reality Composer, and anyone with a recent iPhone or iPad can try it for free on GitHub. It is extremely easy to set up, and there is no code required.

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Ethan Saadia

Founder at PhotoCatch. Developing 3D content creation tools for everyone. 2x  WWDC Scholar. Developer, Engineer, and Entrepreneur.