10+ ARKit apps you’ll want to use today

If you’ve upgraded to iOS 11, you may want to take time to explore some of the more interesting ARKit apps I’ve come across.

Apple, ARKit, iOS, iOS 11, VR, AR, apps
Apple

If you’ve upgraded to iOS 11, you may want to take time to explore some of the more interesting ARKit apps I’ve come across.

Stephanie Llamas, vice president of research and strategy at SuperData Research, says the mobile augmented reality (AR) market will grow from $1.01 billion in 2017 to $18.69 billion by 2020. And while games account for 82 percent of revenue today, they will account for just 18 percent by 2020. I’ve not included too many games in this collection, though I am still playing The Machines.

Edmunds

In the market for a new car? Will the one you’re looking at fit your parking spot? Edmunds' little AR app lets you fit test the car you want to see if it will fit inside that space. If you are in the U.S., you will already know that Edmunds is a car shopping and information platform. Its director of immersive tech, Brock Stearn, says AR will generate disruption across retail and is introducing this feature within the app, which also provides car reviews, images and videos.

IKEA Place

IKEA’s furniture placement app lets you test new furniture in your home or office to see if it fits. So far, so good — but I’ve already come across people using the app to place furniture in unlikely scenarios, such as a nest of chairs and tables on a subway platform. What next? A virtual bed on the top of Everest? Who knows? All the same, the app is a brilliant way to show how virtual reality (VR) can be used to help you make better buying decisions when you shop.

Fitness AR

This cool app for fitness freaks makes use of the Mapbox Unity SDK and iOS 11 to create a unique solution for hikers, runners and bikers using Strava. Fitness AR lets you visualize bike rides, runs and hikes in AR on a 3D terrain map. It also offers a gallery of rides and runs you can explore, virtually or in real life, including runs through the stunning Yosemite Valley. Really like running? Then you may also like the gamified approach of ARRunner.

BrixAR

BrixAR is only a kid’s game, but it drops some big ideas for the future of AR. What it does is relatively simple: It’s a brick-based game (like virtual Lego) that lets you create objects you can put in places using VR. I like it because it seems to be a pretty good illustration of how ARKit will soon be used to put together low-cost fast product prototypes, 3D objects for print, and creative works in virtual space. It’s kind of fun.

PLNAR

There are lots of good measuring apps out there, but I like the way the developers of PLNAR have thought things through. Not only will it measure your rooms to generate floor plans, but it can figure out door and window sizes and let you export your measurements as room plans for further use. Honorable mentions are these also excellent apps: Magicplan, Survey, MeasureKitaRuler and ARMeasure.

Houzz: View in My Room 3D

Serious DIY buffs will love View in My Room 3D in the Houzz Interior Designs app. It lets you place any of 500,000 items in virtual space in your rooms. You’ll get the feeling of the objects in the space(s) you place them, including lighting and ambient effects, and (of course) you can also purchase items if they fit your space. Almost every furniture retailer will introduce apps like these, and it seems inevitable the prize will go to the enterprising developer who manages to convince all those retailers to offer furniture through one single AR app. You can also use it with other Houzz tools, such as Sketch, to test new ideas. 

Overstock

Case in point, Overstock. The Overstock Shopping app lets you place objects available for sale via Overstock around your virtual home. Users can place products beside their own furniture and décor to see how the size, textures and colors match their current room’s design and flow. They can also share pictures of their design and purchase items using Apple Pay.

ChessAR

You’ll find dozens of AR games. One I like is called ChessAR, and it’s exactly what it claims to be: a virtual 3D chess board that “lives” in virtual reality. It offers a range of different Chess game variants, though strangely skips both Star Trek-inspired 3D Chess and Steve Jobs’ favored Kriegspiel variant. It costs $1.99, so hopefully the developer will extend the games made available here, but it’s kind of fun to play the game in virtual space.

Night Sky 5

Night Sky 5 is a brilliant app if your nights are clear, unshrouded by polluted city skies. Just point your iOS device at the sky, and you’ll be rewarded with lots of information about what’s up there. The app overlays constellations on the sky to help you learn and identify them, and it will provide you with information about stars, galaxies and more. It works indoors, too, letting you explore the Solar System to your heart’s content.

Complete Anatomy 2018

This is a fantastic app if you want to learn more about how the human body works. In AR mode (iPad Pro only), Complete Anatomy 2018 will create a virtual 3D model of a body, and you can slice through what you see to find out how the body is made. The app presents a series of courses (some free), or you can purchase the full version ($24.99) to access and explore the complete human body.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short collection. I’m watching development in this space quite closely, and I look forward to bringing you more information about these new apps pretty soon. Please let me know if you have ARKit apps you want to talk about.

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