Qualcomm has announced that its Augmented Reality SDK for iOS is now available free as a public beta program.

The move follows the release of Qualcomm's Android-based SDK at the end of last year, which allowed developers to knock up AR apps for devices where the company has a big interest through its Snapdragon processors.

But now Qualcomm is opening up the software to iPhone and iPad developers. The mobile chip giant is a big player, and invests some serious time and effort, when it comes to Augmented Reality - and it's clear that it sees AR as an incredibly important area for the mobile industry as a whole.

Back in June, Pocket-lint was invited to Qualcomm's HQ in San Diego where we saw some of its AR innovation first hand - including a demo of a couple of its apps working on an iPhone.

"With iOS we are supporting the Unity," Qualcomm's Jay Wright told us. "And what that means is developers can run one Unity application that will work on Android and on iOS.

"Augmented Reality is a new form of interactive media. It's an important new user interface for a variety of user-based applications."

The expansion of Qualcomm's AR platform to Apple iDevices allows developers to use Apple's XCode and Unity 3 to build "high-performance, interactive 3D AR experiences". 

The SDK is available now, for free from developer.qualcomm.com/ar.

Also check out - Qualcomm's best Augmented reality apps

And - Qualcomm: Augmented Reality glasses a long way off