If you’re reading here, you probably know already that Apple has released iOS 11 (and 11.0.1, in fact) for compatible mobile devices. This latest mobile operating system provides a number of small changes in iPhone and iPad interface and functionality and should make people’s devices a little bit sharper overall. But it also introduced augmented reality, thanks to a platform known as ARKit.
In case you aren’t familiar with this, augmented reality on a mobile device works much like the viral 2016 game Pokémon GO. It makes it appear as if animated figures (or environments, objects, etc.) are appearing in the real world, so long as that world is viewed on the device’s screen, as seen through the camera. Even a year ago, Pokémon GO may have seemed like about the only way to take advantage of this kind of technology. But now that AR has been introduced on iOS 11, we’re starting to see more potential.
These are a few of the early, free apps that are now available for download on iOS 11 devices.
Somewhat surprisingly, home décor has emerged as maybe the most significant category in AR. IKEA had one of the first AR apps to generate a lot of publicity, and we also know that Zillow has invested in an augmented reality app for interior design. At this stage, however, the simple, free app PLNAR is one of the better demonstrations of AR’s capabilities.
It is essentially used to measure the dimensions of rooms, which it does with remarkable ease. You need only hold your phone out to scan (for lack of a better term) edges and borders, and you can gain an exact measurement of your space. This is extraordinarily useful in picking out furniture or planning an interior in general.
HoloGrid: Monster Battle AR
People have talked to no end about the potential effects of virtual reality on the gaming industry. Some see VR as the next innovation in gaming, as was perhaps best expressed in an article pertaining to casino games in particular.
There it was suggested that VR’s emergence could equal the impact of the development of smart phones and tablets as far as changing how people play games. AR, however, has gotten far less attention in this regard, and early apps show that developers are still feeling out concepts. HoloGrid: Monster Battle AR demonstrates some of the potential, however, by basically turning a monster board game into a projection of monster battles that should entertain players to no end.
There are only a couple of fitness apps for iOS 11 devices so far, and this free one is actually quite intriguing for the future of the medium. By projecting virtual checkpoints for runners to pass through, it can record workouts and foster a sense of competition among people who aren’t actually exercising together.
It’s easy to see this concept taking hold with regard to specific sport performances, and in revamped or enhanced versions of AR Runner. This relatively straightforward program could well set the tone for the fitness genre on mobile devices moving ahead.
This is a more playful app, but an important one in that it shows what ARKit can do for young children. There are actually a couple of early examples of ARKit being used to bring storybooks and fun characters to life.
AR Dragon was one of the first apps to be demonstrated leading up to the release of iOS 11, showing a pet dragon on your end table. It’s quite literally just a virtual pet, which kids will have a lot of fun with – and which may also be the clearest example of how much better ARKit is at this sort of thing than Pokémon GO was last year.
Again, these four apps are all available for free in the iOS stores. They show a range of capabilities that have been delivered to developers via ARKit, and taken all together they’re quite promising.