The total number of installs of ARKit-based apps, presented with iOS 11 in September last year, exceeds 13 million, according to researchers at Sensor Tower, who decided to find out how things are going with the popularization of augmented reality on iOS. Moreover, the games turned out to be more interesting to users than other categories of such applications.
Roughly half (47%, to be precise) installs of ARKit apps come from games. A month after the release iOS 11 ARKit apps exceeded the 3 million download mark, with games among them 35%. Six months later, game downloads have grown to 47% from 13 million downloads.
Games, of course, helped popularize augmented reality before the release of ARKit. Thanks to Pokémon Go, smartphone users saw how augmented reality could take the game to the next level, and tried to catch animated Pokémon that appear in specific places in the real world, which could only be seen through the smartphone camera in the game interface overlay mode on the real image of the area.
The most popular free application turned out to be the AR Dragon pet simulator from Australian PlaySide Studios. The most popular and grossing paid ARKit app is CamToPlan Pro, an augmented reality roulette wheel from Tasmanic Editions.
If you're wondering why Pokémon Go isn't at the top, it's because Sensor Tower only analyzed ARKit apps, while Pokémon Go came out long before its release. Yes, Pokémon Go has added ARKit elements over time, but it is still not in the research category.
If we combine all the augmented reality apps to which ARKit was added after launch, then their number will exceed 2,000. This corresponds to the numbers reported by itself Apple.
Other popular ARKit app categories include utilities (such as tape measure or eBay's utility that helps you choose the right size box for shipping), entertainment apps, lifestyle apps (especially popular ones that visualize how furniture in your room), as well as photo and video apps (such as Holo) and education apps.
In addition to games, ARKit apps in the lifestyle category also saw a significant increase in downloads – their share of all AR app installs more than doubled, from 5 percent to 11 percent. This was facilitated by apps from IKEA, Houzz, Wayfair and other companies. The share of downloads of utilities, by contrast, dropped from 19 to 15 percent.
The list of popular ARKit games has changed little over the past six months, with the exception of a few new releases like Halfbrick's Shadows Remain, the studio behind Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. Other popular novelties include AR Smash Tanks !, Playground AR and Orbu.
AR Dragon has been topping the list of the most popular free ARKit games for several months now, and The Machines has become the best and highest grossing paid game in the category.
If we consider only non-gaming applications, then the most popular are family and children's programs. So, the top free is topped by LEGO AR Studio, followed by Dr. Panda AR Christmas Tree (3rd place), Meow! (4th place), Math Ninja AR (9th place) and Follow Me Dragon (10th place).
Interestingly, the top paid applications, on the contrary, are mainly utilities – basically all kinds of roulettes and other measuring instruments.
Apple played a big role in the development of ARKit. Everything worked for this: from demonstrations on stage to new features App Store. The company recently even integrated augmented reality into a coding app for kids – Swift Playgrounds.
But augmented reality apps are still in their early stages, and as ARKit evolves, new kinds of augmented reality apps may appear.
One of the potentially interesting updates was the release of the ARKit 1.5 beta, which took place for developers back in January. It introduces wall recognition, a feature that allows ARKit to detect vertical surfaces and place objects on them. This build also improves the interface, adding support for 1080p video and image recognition based on computer vision. The latter means that ARKit apps will be able to “see” things that look like 2D objects (like posters or paintings on walls).
Not only Apple is working in this direction. Google also released ARCore, its counterpart to ARKit, earlier this year. Over the course of several months, a number of applications originally intended only for ARKit have been adapted for Android with ARCore. Last week Google reported that there are already over 60 ARCore apps in the Play Store, most of which are games.