Pokemon Go now leverages Apple’s ARKit.
ARKit lets iOS developers tap into the iPhone and iPad's hardware and software in order to create games that let you place virtual objects in the real world. (You can read more about it from here.) Now, Niantic Labs, the developer behind the Pokemon Go augmented reality game, is tapping into the framework, which is part of iOS 11, to "enhance the visuals and dynamics of catching Pokemon in the real world".
Niantic is chiefly using ARKit to offer an all-new AR+ feature. The result? The mobile game can better position pokemon in the camera viewfinder with higher accuracy and true-to-life size ratios. Before AR+, Pokemon Go used rough estimates in order to place pokemon in your environment. The new AR+ feature also lets trainers use a new capture bonus, dubbed “expert handler", so they can creep up on pokemon.
This will allow them to easily capture creatures without spooking them. The expert handler bonus also brings extra in-game currency, in the form of more XP and stardust, for upgrading pokemon. The goal with this update is to encourage fans to keep the game's AR mode on, which they tend to turn off, because it makes capturing pokemon harder and it drains their device's battery. But Niantic wants you to keep it on.
Niantic has indicated the new AR+ feature, because it's made possible through ARKit, is less demanding than the game’s original technology. Niantic even partnered with Apple, which allowed the developer to test its new features on iPhone X units. When asked about whether Niantic ever plans to support ARCore, Google’s own AR platform, Niantic CEO John Hank told The Verge, “I’ll leave that for speculation."
Mind you, ARCore is still in developer preview. So, while Android users will have to wait to see if these improvements come to their version of Pokemon Go, trainers around the globe running iOS 11 on iPhone 6S and newer models can now experience the new AR+ feature.