Augmented reality has gone far beyond Pokémon Go. Apple's ARKit developer tool, now in its second iteration with iOS 12, has brought AR tricks to some of your favorite apps, allowing for new experiences you didn't expect.
You don't have to wait until Apple's rumored AR glasses arrive to start experiencing a new reality. (Good thing, too, since those glasses likely won't arrive until next year.) With AR easier than ever to find, here are the coolest ARKit-based apps we've seen so far.
Google Maps is the latest app from the search giant to build in augmented reality features . Maps is adding an AR mode that helps you navigate to your destination by adding virtual signs and directional arrows over the live view on your phone in order to point the way. AR Mode is in limited testing on the iPhone at the moment, and there's no firm word on when it might release to the general public, but it's an exciting addition to one of the best navigation apps out there.
The Civilizations AR app brings ancient relics and cultural treasures to life using augmented reality to turn your iPhone into a mobile museum. You can view each artifact in lifelike 3D renderings, using your phone as an AR viewfinder. The AR approach gives you both unprecedented views and the ability to zoom in and spin around items. You can check out interactive features like x-ray views and narrations, and learn about the secrets, origins and history of these global cultural treasures. It's the next best thing to holding a historical artifact in your own hands.
Language learning app Mondly adds an AR-assisted spin, engaging language learners with an animated chatbot as well as visualizations of objects and words to help make learning more dynamic, as well as providing instant feedback on pronunciation and any errors. Those features join Mondly's lessons, games, and practice conversations designed to cover more than 30 different languages.
Actually dissecting a once-living frog is a feat not all students can, nor want to, do. You know what's a lot nicer? Using Froggipedia to slice open a virtual Kermit, since it supports the Apple Pencil, which is a lot less dangerous than an actual scalpel. Oh, and the best part? No cleanup.
Since a class trip down the white-water rapids is both expensive and slightly dangerous, the World Wildlife Fund has got the next best thing. Free Rivers allows you to place interactive models of real locations — including the Himalayas, the African savanna and southeast Asian deltas — on a tabletop, for classroom edification and enjoyment. Kids can even take control, with options to create dams to properly manage water.
One of our favorite AR apps yet, Chalk uses augmented reality technology to supercharge tech support for the 21st century. Chalk sets up a video call between two devices, where the person getting advice points their rear camera at whatever they need explained to them, and the other person draws on their own screen as they speak their suggestions. The person getting the help sees those doodles live, appearing on their screen, falling on the specific buttons, knobs and other parts of what they're looking at.
What if you could bring Jurassic Park to you? Monster Park leverages ARKit to drop terrifying dinosaurs in the safest place: augmented reality. This way, it only looks like Monster Park's roster of ravaging dinosaurs, which includes the tyrannosaurus rex, pteranodons and triceratops, are causing a scene in your neighborhood. Not only can you capture photos and videos of these scenes, but surface support allows you to place them onto smaller areas, such as tables.