AR for the Masses.

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iOS 11 launched on September 19th and with it Apple brought the amazing capability of Augmented Reality to millions of iPhones.

ARKit is a new developer framework that allows iOS coders to craft AR experiences for users with iPhones and iPads. The first set of apps are now available for Apple users to test out on their phones and the hype is huge. The types of apps available range from games, to fitness apps to online marketplaces for stores.

Planar AR app enables users to create intuitive visualizations

Planar AR app enables users to create intuitive visualizations

While this is all very exciting for users, the real anticipation comes from developers, who are scrambling to create. By bringing AR further away from handheld gaming systems, developers have the opportunity to create applications that do not relate to gaming at all.

Take for example PLANAR, which is an application that generates a home’s floor plan using augmented reality. This technology is useful for both interior designers and flooring companies alike.

Not all user are impressed however.  Some are complaining about the new release and suggesting that ARKIT is a marketing gimmick. They point to the fact that AR has already been on the app store for much longer, and that AR works better on other devices. PokemonGo, for example, is alive and well and does not need ARKit.

Advocates for ARKit think that these users are missing the point. It is not about the apps that are available, but instead about the opportunities this presents for developers.

The assumption is that as more developers gain access to AR, the technology will flourish and the industry will leap forward. AR applications and games will expand beyond the realm of “take this element from the game and take a picture of it in real life” and into implementing full AR experiences.

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As a gamer, I would personally love to see an AR Pokemon Card Game or Augmented Clue. So while it's impossible to predict how fast AR will grow,  I'm hoping the addition of ARKit will make it much easier for game and app developers to dream and produce higher quality AR content in the future.

The more content we have to consume, the better chance AR has to break into the mainstream and create the future many of us are hoping for.