Qualcomm has released its Augmented Reality (AR) SDK for iOS, which now joins the Android version launched back in April. Like the Android SDK, the new iOS toolkit will enable mobile developers to create high-performance, interactive, 3D experiences, which are triggered by pointing the device's camera at real-world objects.

At the time of the initial launch, Qualcomm showcased an app called "Mavs AR," built in collaboration with the Dallas Mavericks. To use the app, you simply pointed your phone at a Dallas Mavericks virtual and a virtual game would appear directly on top of it.

While a clever bit of fun, it didn't feel like game-changer for mobile, and perpetuated the belief among some that AR is just a bunch of over-hyped silliness. Similarly, the current set of games and gimmicks out now, many of which also use Qualcomm's SDK, don't really seem to be demonstrating the potential of this technology.

AR's roots are in aircraft assembly, where it was used to deliver virtual instruction manuals.  It seems odd that as it made the transition to mobile, those same types of practical use cases are still missing in favor of marketing initiatives (AR ads in your magazines and movie posters!) as well as games.

But that may not be the case forever, thankfully.

In June, Jay Wright, Senior Director of Business Development for Qualcomm, said that he was working with two big-name retailers to put out some of the first truly useful mobile apps involving instruction manuals. One will be an app that helps show you how to load ink in your printer, just by pointing your phone at the printer itself.

Now that the AR SDK is in the hands of the iOS developer community, we hope to see other helpful implementations of the technology, too. Developers can grab the new SDK for iOS from here.