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Top 5 augmented reality apps that show off Apple’s ARKit

The launch of iOS 11 is a big moment for augmented reality. iOS 11 includes ARKit, a piece of software that lets third-party developers make AR apps for iPhones and iPads. Because Apple’s operating system is so widely used, it’s said that iOS 11 will make AR mainstream.

In other words, every developer worth their salt will soon start releasing augmented reality apps. If you’re yet to see exactly what AR can do, you’re in for a treat, as these apps show.

From positioning a sofa in your lounge without having to rearrange the furniture to blasting zombies in your kitchen, these are the AR apps you’ll want to download first.

1) Ikea Place

Ikea Place app iPhone 8

This is probably the best known augmented reality app, the one being used to sell ARKit to us punters. Point your phone at your lounge, and its camera measures the room around you.

You can then place a virtual rendition of a piece of Ikea furniture in front of you, and walk up to it, spin it around, or plonk it somewhere else, just by dragging and dropping. So there’s no risk of putting your back out.

You can choose from a huge selection of Ikea’s furniture catalogue, and change the colours, materials and textures used. A future version will even let you fold out a virtual sofa bed to see how much space it takes up in both modes.

Hey, at least you don’t have to go to Ikea.

2) The Machines

The Machines app

This is the first competitive multiplayer game designed purely for AR. A space shooter in the same guise as ‘X-Com: Enemy Unknown’ or ‘Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine’, it lets you create the battleground wherever you point your iPhone. You then move around the arena, viewing the action from any angle.

According to Atli Mar Sveinsson, CEO of the game’s creator Directive Games, this makes you feel as if you’re inside the game.

It also has spatial audio, so as you get closer to the action, it sounds louder. And when something comes between you an explosion, it’ll sound muffled, as if you were actually there.

3) The Walking Dead: Our World

Walking Dead app

AR is going to be massive for games, as the phenomenal success of ‘Pokemon Go’ has shown. One of the most exciting and bloodiest implementations is with this tie-in game to ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series.

It works in a similar way to ‘Pokemon Go’, but instead of cute little Pokemon appearing in front of you, it’s flesh-eating zombies. And instead of collecting them, you have to blast their brains out.

Call us depraved, but it looks a lot more fun to us.

A selection of characters from the TV show are on-hand to fight zombies alongside you, which should keep the fans happy. And with series eight of the TV show set to start near the end of October, we can see the game riding high on the inevitable hype wave.

4) The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Hungry Caterpillar app

One for the kiddies, this, as the classic children’s book comes to life in front of your very eyes.

The eponymous caterpillar hatches from an egg and starts crawling towards you. It’s up to you to feed it by throwing apples in its path.

Feed it enough, and it hatches into a butterfly and flies away. There are also other characters on-hand to enliven proceedings, including a grumpy ladybird. Fun for all the family.

5) Arise

Arise app

This title, from Climax Studios, is aimed at slightly older children. It creates a 3D structure in front of you, which you manipulate by angling your iPhone or iPad so that two parts of the landscape which are completely separated appear on top of each other.

There are no buttons to press. Rather, perspective is the name of the game.

It’s more advanced than most AR games, because it breaks away from the winning formula used in Pokemon Go. A more cerebral affair, it might not be to everyone’s tastes (especially those of us who like blasting zombies). But it hints that AR has bags of potential.

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