Apple's AR future
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.
WWF Free Rivers
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.
Turn your iPhone into a mobile dance instructor with Dance Reality, an ARKit-powered app that teaches you the basic footwork and timings of a variety of dance styles by displaying the footwork on your smartphone screen. Users can select from a variety of dance styles, including the option to learn the footwork for whether you're leading or following. There's also solo and couple practice features.
The Machines is so impressive, Apple gave it stage time at last year's iPhone X launch event. It's a competitive multiplayer co-op strategy game that involves players (either in online networked play, or locally in the same room) shooting at each other and destroying bases. As one player rotates their device, the sound of the game adjusts based around real world obstacles that would obscure traveling sound.
The mind-bending Escher-space-meets-Rubik's-Cube puzzles of Euclidean Lands get a worthy sequel in Euclidan Skies, where you must guide an adventurer past puzzles and perilous foes through a combination of clever moves and rotating the very level itself. Like its predecessor, Euclidean Skies features an augmented reality mode that lets you get a new perspective on the action, projecting the level and its characters right into your own living room.
Curious about trying your hand at creating AR experiences? Thyng provides tools for everyday users to create AR objects and play around with them. While one example allowed users to turn themselves into chess pieces, another created a three-by-three grid of football game streams, aka Pigskin Paradise.
ARise is a platform adventure game allows you to drop its world into your home, office, or anywhere else you go. As beautiful as Monument Valley, but less confusing, ARise looks to provide a calming and serene way to game.
Much more legal than carrying around a cadaver, InsightHeart allows you to drop a transparent human body with a thumping heart onto what you see in front of you. By moving your phone around the animation, walking closer and closer, you'll learn more about the incredibly vital organ.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide
Popular home improvement app Houzz upgraded its View in My Room 3D tool for ARKit capabilities. Now, users can get even more detail after dropping objects — selected from the app's library of half a million products — into their living spaces. You'll also see how those objects handle lighting. The app also allows you to buy the items that tie your rooms together directly from the app.
Having trouble figuring out what chair will be right for your kitchen? Or what rug will tie the living room together? The Ikea Place app allows you to virtually drop new pieces of furniture from the famous company into your own living spaces and find out.
YouCam Makeup is an AR-assisted selfie camera that doubles up as a makeup and fashion assistant, letting you preview a range of beauty products such as lipstick, blush, and eye makeup from brands like L'Oreal, Maybelline, and Urban Decay, generated in real-time with augmented reality. In addition to the makeup and accessories previews and your expected selfie cam editing features, YouCam Makeup also features a lively social element, allowing you to share looks, follow other users, and shop and review featured products.
Sun Seeker is a specialized AR app that tracks and predicts the movement of the sun in the sky, providing a flat compass view and augmented reality viewfinder that shows the path and position of the sun at a given date and time. The app provides additional specifics such as predicted sunrise, sunset and maximum elevation. While it seems like just a pricey software toy, Sun Seeker does have practical applications for a variety of professions, such as for photographers or architects planning to make use of natural lighting.
You don't need to watch a concert or awards show to find a holographic celebrity, now that the Holo app allows you to augment your photos and videos with the likes of Jon Hamm, Spider-Man and many more. It also offers other animated objects for you to drop into your world and resize, such as apes, pro wrestlers and lions.
Everybody loves GIFs, and so it feels right that GIPHY (the best site for finding them) is bringing them into augmented reality. The GIPHY World app allows users to drop the moving images into videos and photos, and then share them with friends.
Food Network In The Kitchen
Once you're in the kitchen, you need two things: recipes and inspiration. Food Network's In The Kitchen looks to provide both, allowing you to decorate virtual desserts and share them with friends (possibly as invitations), and access the instructions for making those same delicious treats.