Apple has its own an augmented reality (AR) platform. Known as ARKit, the company announced it last June, and now, there are a bunch of ARKit-enabled apps you can use on your iOS device.
Augmented reality isn't a new technology, but Apple decided it should embrace it, and naturally, everyone's been talking about it. You see, while virtual reality immerses you into a space, essentially replacing everything you see in a physical world, AR takes the world around you and adds virtual objects to it. With ARKit, you can place virtual furniture within your own room, for instance.
You can also battle virtual enemies scuttling along your floor or even place a potential car purchase in your garage! Keep in mind ARKit-enabled apps can only run newer devices, like the iPhone 6S or later and the latest 9.7-inch iPad. If you want to know more about ARKit and how it enables developers to easily create new AR experiences, see our guide.
The best ARKit apps
1. Ikea Place
Ikea's latest app helps you to visualize its products in your home, whether that be a kitchen cabinet or minimalist lamp. More than 2,000 Ikea products are currently available in the app, so you can hone your interior design skills without having to spend a cent.
The main Overstock app, which is for the popular online retail website, lets you place 3D models of thousands of Overstock products right into your home. You can then share pictures of the AR models, add the Overstock items to your cart, and even pay for them via Apple Pay.
3. Giphy World
If you love GIFs, check out the repository Giphy. Its latest app, Giphy World, lets you add AR-powered 3D GIFs to the world around you and you can record video, too. You then share your creations with friends who also have the app, allowing you to communicate in AR.
Housecraft is a furniture arrangement app with a range of items that can be resized to fit in your room. We consider this a planning app more than an app you'd use to shop, like you would with Ikea Place. It also has a disaster feature that lets you create havoc in a room.
Looking to shop for a new or used car? Check out this extensive vehicle database and you will be able to visualise a potential vehicle purchase by placing it in your garage or driveway. Edmunds said you can use this AR feature to confirm if a car will fit wherever you'll want to park it.
MeasureKit costs $2.99. But that'd be money well spent, because with this app, you can measure almost anything using your iPhone or iPad camera, including angles, room dimensions, and even leveling. The ruler tool is free, but the other ones come with the app's sticker price.
TapMeasure is like other measurement apps, but it goes a step further, letting you create floor plans and 3D room models, which you can then export as CAD files. It's free to download and use, though some features, like the CAD file export one, cost extra.
Night Sky lets you identify stars, planets, constellations, and satellites. And now it has a "Grand Orrery" premium feature (costs $1.99 a month) that lets you see the Solar System in your home. You can walk around it, zoom in on planets, and explore -- all in AR.
9. Carrot Weather
This cheeky weather app has a new AR mode, thanks to ARKit, so you can get "hilariously snarky forecasts" in AR. The team behind the app, which costs $2.99 in the US, also warned users not to poke the ocular sensor, which, now you know you totally will.
10. Fitness AR
This $2.99 app uses social fitness-tracking app Strava's API. With Fitness AR, athletes can see their routes on a 3D terrain map powered by Mapbox. Another cool feature is screen recording. With it, you pan and zoom through routes and create a video that can be shared.