Did Pokemon Go bring AR to the iPhone?

Macworld | Jul 20, 2016

Pokémon Go has made us spend more time in augmented reality than on Facebook. But we've been using our iPhones for AR for a while now.

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[background music]
Host: You don't need an expensive headset to experience augmented reality. All you need is your iPhone and, of course, a few Poké Balls.
Augmented reality may sound farfetched, but in the last week people have spent more time in AR than they do on Facebook, all thanks to a mobile game you might have heard of, called Pokémon GO. Now, that's farfetched. Over 20 million people log in everyday to try and catch animated Pokémon that are secretly overlaid into real world environments.
It's casual augmented reality, if you will, but it's AR nonetheless. The game's popularity proves that the world is ready and willing to adopt hi tech concepts like AR, as long as they are powered by our iPhones. This mainstream adoption can happen faster than you can say Jigglypuff.
Pokémon GO may not be as immersive as games built for Oculus Rift or other VR platforms, but that's OK. We don't all need to evolve into wearing full on headsets for AR to really take off. Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and the HTC Vive provide awesome entertainment, for sure, just like an Xbox or a television, but the iPhone provides so much more than that.
I'm just not convinced that anything will replace the iPhone, or any other smartphone for that matter, as our primary personal device, the one we come home to every night, and is with us on all those special occasions.
Woman: You had me at Hello.
Host: Decades from now, Pokémon GO will be considered a watershed moment for mobile AR but, believe it or not, it didn't happen overnight. We've actually been dabbling in augmented reality for a while now, thanks to another silly but fun social experiment known as Snapchat. If Pokémon GO is the flash in the pan, Snapchat is the boiling frog.
Technically, those selfie lenses are augmented reality too. The Snapchat camera takes the reality of your face and augments it so that you look like you are vomiting rainbows. I know, but it's groundbreaking! Facebook and Twitter are investing heavily into creating AR experiences too, but Snapchat seems perfectly designed for this.
A camera viewfinder is the first thing you see when you launch Snapchat, a reality just waiting to be augmented. Hopefully, Snapchat will give us more useful AR experiences though, like trying on clothes, or rearranging furniture in an empty room, or turning your cat into a Pokémon.
Child: Big cat.
Host: Now, that's one hell of a Halloween costume.


Augmented reality may sound farfetched. But in the last week, people have spent more time in AR than they do on Facebook. All thanks to a mobile game you might have heard of called Pokemon Go. Now that’s Farfetch’d! (the name of an actual Pokemon).

Over 20 million people log in every day to try and catch animated Pokemon that are secretly overlayed into real-world enviroments. It’s casual augmented reality, if you will, but it’s AR none the less. And the game’s popularity proves that the world is ready and willing to adopt hi-tech concepts, like AR, as long as they are powered by our iPhones. And this mainstream adoption can happen faster than you can say Jigglypuff.

Pokemon Go may not be as immersive as games built for Oculus Rift. But that’s ok. We don’t all need to evolve into wearing full-on headsets for AR to really take off.
Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive provide awesome entertainment, for sure, just like an Xbox or a television.
But the iPhone provides so much more than that.

I’m just not convinced that anything will replace the iPhone, or any other smartphone for that matter, as our primary personal device. The one we come home to every night and is with us on all those special occassions.

Decades from now, Pokemon Go will be considered a watershed moment for mobile AR. But believe it or not, it didn’t happen overnight.

We’ve actually been dabbling in augmented reality for a while now, thanks to another silly-but-fun social experiment known as Snapchat. If Pokemon Go is the flash in the pan, Snapchat is the boiling frog. Yep, technically those selfie lenses are augmented reality, too.

The Snapchat camera takes the reality of your face and augments it so that you look like you’re vomitting rainbows. I know... but it’s groundbreaking! Facebook and Twitter are investing heavily into creating AR experiences, too, but Snapchat seems perfectly designed for this. A camera viewfinder is the first thing you see when you launch Snapchat, a reality just waiting to be augmented.

Hopefully, Snapchat will give us more useful AR experiences though, like trying on clothes, rearranging furniture in an empty room, or turning my cat into a Pokemon.

Now that’s one hell of a halloween costume.