IKEA Place Source: Bryan M. Wolfe/iMore

The second-generation 11-inch iPad Pro and fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro offer an all-new LiDAR Scanner that will play a huge role in Apple's augmented reality initiatives in the years to come. Though currently limited to the 2020 iPad Pro models, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is almost certainly coming to other Apple devices in the future, including perhaps the 2020 iPhones.

Here's more about LiDAR and apps you can use right now on your new iPad Pro to test the technology.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR uses light to measure distance using invisible pulsating green spectrum lasers. These pulses (which occur thousands of times per minute) measure how long it takes for the light to get back to the sensor. By doing so, it paints a "picture" of the environment in front of the scanner.

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iPad Pro 2020 cameraSource: Apple

As Russell Holly initially explained, "in larger deployments, like cars and airplanes, LiDAR systems can offer a living snapshot of things at multiple depths in order to offer a computer a similar perception of depth we have in human eyes."

In doing so, "This makes it possible for the computer to 'see' far enough away that it's safe to use while the vehicle is in motion, which is great. But it's efficacy is determined by power output and size, so the smaller the sensor the shorter its effective distance of measurement."

It's almost certain Apple's long-term plans for LiDAR will eventually extend well beyond the iPad Pro. In the meantime, the high-end tablet will nicely serve as a hardware testing ground for developers and users alike.

At the heart of this testing is ARKit 3.5, which was released soon after the new iPad Pro was announced. The update takes advantage of the LiDAR Scanner and depth-sensing system on the iPad Pro to support a new generation of AR apps.

Test LiDAR with these apps

Here are some impressive apps you can use right now to test the new LiDAR Scanner on your 2020 iPad Pro:

Your new household tool

Measure

Ditch your measuring stick

Long popular, Apple's Measure app makes it easy to gauge the size of real objects, a person's height, and provide the dimensions of rectangular objects.

On the 2020 iPad Pro models, you can use Measure's new horizontal and vertical guidelines when measuring large objects for more comfortable and more accurate measurements. The app also can instantly measure a person's height from the floor to the top of their head, hair, or hat. You can also save measurements from a single session and complete with screenshots, so they're easy to access and share whenever you need them.

Groundbreaking app

Complete Anatomy Platform 2020

See what's inside you

An Apple Design Award Winner, this app is prevalent at 250 of the world's top universities, include 20 of the world's top 25 ranked medical schools.

The world's most accurate, most advanced and best-selling 3D anatomy platform uses new technology, models, and content. It's not just an atlas, the app is an anatomy learning platform with unique collaboration and learning tools. On the new iPad Pro, you can now study and take measures with a real human being and use that information to visualize and understand muscle movement, and more.

For engineers

Shapr 3D CAD modeling

Professional modeling in your hands

3D modeling has never looked as great as it does in this excellent freemium app.

Engineers, industrial designers, architects, and creators have long considered Shapr 3D for CAD modeling on a mobile device. LiDAR pushing this into fun, new directions.

Reorganize your favorite rooms

IKEA Place

Change things

Will that new chair look beautiful in your living room? How about the bed you've been eyeing? Now you know before you buy

Most of the other apps on this list focus on business use for LiDAR. IKEA Place, however, is all about consumers making their homes look better. Use the app to virtually place true-to-scale 3D models in your very own space. Combining the latest AR technology and IKEA's smart home solutions, you can experience IKEA like never before.

Can you stop the fire?

Hot Lava

Yes, it's hot inside

Your home looks the same except for the hot molten lava currently moving around in your living room. Can you save the world around you?

Hot Lava uses AR to transform the space around you into game challenges. Along the way, you just don't have to avoid the lava. There's also toxic waste, bottomless pits, and many more obstacles that look real, especially next to your family pet or television!

Other opportunities

As a new iPad Pro owner, there are other resources you can use to experience the LiDAR Scanner. You should also check out Apple's Reality Composer, which lets you quickly prototype and produce content for AR experience.

For something else, check out this Apple webpage directly from your tablet and watch the objects comes to life right before your eyes.

Questions?

As more LiDAR Scanner-enhanced apps are discovered that show promise, we'll update this post. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions about the new tool below.

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