Three million downloads of apps and games based on Apple’s augmented reality tech

Apps and games that use ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality (AR) framework for the iPhone and iPad, have been installed more than 3 million times since the launch of iOS 11 on 19 September, according to new data.

Sensor Tower, a provider of mobile app store marketing intelligence, has ranked the most popular free and paid ARKit-only mobile games and apps – those built entirely around Apple’s new technology – released so far.

Games are the single largest category, both in terms of the apps that are available featuring the technology, as well as what users are downloading.

Over a third (35%) of all available ARKit-only apps are mobile games, although Sensor Tower said that over time it expects to see a more diverse range of app types as developers explore new concepts suited to AR.

In second place is Utilities, representing 19% of available apps, followed by Entertainment (11%), Education (7%), Photo & Video (6%) and Lifestyle (5%).

Games account for 53% of ARKit-only app downloads and 62% of revenue since launch. The top free ARKit-only app is virtual pet app AR Dragon, while measuring tool TapMeasure tops the list of paid ARKit-only apps. Leading the revenue ranking is The Machines, a strategy game that was demonstrated during Apple’s recent iPhone X debut event.

In a recent interview with the Independent, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that rather than creating the augmented reality apps themselves, Apple has provided a vast framework of sensors and software so developers can build their own.

“The way that you get lots of great ideas is for us to do the heavy lifting of the complexity of locational things and software, and put those in the operating system,” Cook said. “And then you have all the developers that are able to put their energy into their passion.”

One of the most popular free apps – at number four in Sensor Tower’s ranking – is IKEA Place, which allows people to stand in their home and look at a virtual recreation of an item they want to buy.

Cook told the Independent that shopping will be changed “entirely” by augmented reality, and in fact nothing will be untouched by the technology.

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