More than a year after its initial launch, Pokemon Go is often remembered for its rabid players that overwhelmed parks and swarmed streets looking for cute little pocket monsters. But people tend to forget that Pokemon Go was also many people's first experience with augmented reality. And while today's trainer count is down from peak numbers last summer, Pokemon Go creator Niantic says the game's augmented reality features were noticeably improved thanks to an integration with Apple's ARKit on iOS.
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Forget virtual reality, for now at least, because augmented reality, or AR as it is commonly known, is powering the next batch of magic tricks heading to your phone. Apple and Google are pushing the tech hard, but what's actually new about the next wave of AR? What's changed since Pontiac stuff it in the ugly Aztek or Niantic had you catching Pokemon with it in Pokemon Go? And what are you going to be able to do with it...besides game?
One of the most memorable music videos of the 1980s is A-ha's "Take On Me" featuring a young woman who's pulled into a world that looks like it only exists as crude pencil sketches. The video took 16 weeks to animate by hand, but Trixi Studios created an augmented reality app that can recreate the effect in real-time.
With the introduction of iOS 11 and a development tool called ARKit, Apple is betting that augmented reality could be the next revolutionary feature for smartphones. At the very least, it's facilitated a secret feature that lets iPhone users pretend they're giant monsters stomping through a tiny city.