One of the first things I did when I started playing Pokemon Go was to turn off the augmented reality. It was a clever gimmick, being able to see Pokemon in the real world, but it made the creatures harder to catch and it wasn’t especially well implemented. I never seriously expected to consider turning the AR functionality back on, but at WWDC 2017, Apple revealed ARKit for iOS 11 and changed my mind.
In case you missed it at the keynote, ARKit is a new tool from Apple that will allow developers to build more advanced augmented reality experiences for users. According to Bloomberg, Niantic will release an update for Pokemon Go that will include ARKit support this fall. You can see what it looks like in the clip below, which was lifted from the ARKit segment during the WWDC keynote:
It might not look like much, but it’s a massive improvement over the current system. Today, Pokemon in Pokemon Go float around aimlessly when you turn on AR. With ARKit, they will actually be anchored to a spot in the environment, which will make the entire experience feel more real. It will still be easier to catch a Pokemon without AR, but ARKit makes AR far more viable.
As Touch Arcade points out, the addition of ARKit will make Pokemon Go more advanced on iOS than it will be on Android. That’s especially ironic because Niantic began as an internal startup within Google. If there’s anything that can push a company to advance its tech, it’s Pokemon.