Right before Apple’s WWDC17 kicked off on Monday, Apple sent developers a bag of swag that included something called ARKit. Essentially, it’s a tool to help developers create augmented reality iOS apps. We now know that Pokémon Go will be one of the first apps to get an AR boost using the ARKit.
Some of the AR elements that ARKit hopes to bring to a future version of the Pokémon Go iOS app are fast and stable motion tracking, ambient light estimation and scale estimation. What that means is a better Pokémon Go experience on devices running iOS – a more realistic experience than the more simplistic one on the current version.
Not many additional details were made available, but we’re hoping that ARKit is able to foster a large pool of augmented reality applications for iOS. Until that happens, it won’t make sense for Apple to release any AR hardware specific to iOS devices.
The first step is to grow the apps ecosystem for iOS AR, and ARKit is Apple’s first major move in this direction. By using Pokémon Go as one of the first few apps to go through this process, Apple is likely hoping for some early user interest that they can then build on.
Augmented reality is one of Apple’s major bids for the future, and it’s good to see them making baby steps to make it happen. The formula is essentially the same: get developers interested, create a body of apps exclusive to iOS, get users interested, keep growing the apps base and keep growing the user base.
This could be a big boost for the newly overhauled App Store in the future, and it’s possible that Apple will eventually create a separate tab for AR applications as well. Of course, none of this is going to happen overnight, but Apple has a ready iOS user base for almost anything new it introduces, and this is yet another potential revenue stream that can help the company offset its heavy dependence on iPhone sales.