Apple might be losing its lead in augmented reality to China

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Augmented Reality version coming soon
An augmented reality version of this game could have web a huge win for Apple.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

While ARKit gave Apple an early lead when it comes to augmented reality apps, a highly respected analyst thinks a Chinese company has nearly caught up.

As evidence, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo points out that the AR version of enormously popular game Honour of Kings will land on iPhone and Oppo’s inexpensive Android phones at the same time.

See how ARKit will make grocery shopping easier

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grocery shopping
ARKit makes grocery shopping fun.
Photo: Andrew Hart

Searching my local grocery stores endless aisles of offerings of food is one of my least favorite things about being an adult, but thanks to the power of ARKit, apps are about to completely change the experience.

iOS developer Andrew Hart teased an early preview of his augmented reality app for retailers on Twitter this week and it looks absolutely amazing. The sleek app can be used to product details while shipping. But the coolest feature is its ability to spatially navigate you through the store to that Tikka Masala you’ve been hunting for.

Prepare to be amazed:

iOS 11.3 arrives with new battery features and more

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Animoji
iOS 11.3 comes with four new Animoji.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The first major iOS update of 2018 has finally arrived, bringing a host of new features and improvements to the iPhone and iPad.

Apple initially released iOS 11.3 yesterday just for the only available to download on the new 9.7-inch iPad Apple. Now the software update is finally available to all users worldwide.

ARKit apps have been downloaded 13 million times so far

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Sensor Tower
Things certainly seem to be heading in the right direction.
Photo: Sensor Tower

iOS users have installed upwards of 13 million augmented reality apps since Apple debuted ARKit back in September, a new report from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence suggests.

That’s up from 3 million worldwide one month after iOS 11 was launched. Apps which established themselves early on, including Ikea Place, Giphy World, The Machines, and My Very Hungry Caterpillar AR, continue to be top-performers in terms of downloads.

Live blog: Apple’s first big product unveiling of 2018

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Apple Education Event invitation
Apple is focusing on students and teacher for its first keynote.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s first big event of 2018 is practically here! Unlike most Apple keynotes, today’s “field trip” education-oriented event in Chicago won’t be streamed live.

Don’t worry. Cult of Mac will be in attendance and we’ll be live blogging everything with up-to-the-minute info on all the new goodies. Not only is Apple expected to preview some new educational software, but we could also see a new iPad, improved Apple Pencil and maybe even a new MacBook Air.

The keynote starts Tuesday, March 27, at 10 a.m. Central time. So save this page and get ready for Apple’s most mysterious event in years.

Street Fighter hits the actual streets in new ARKit demo

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Street Fighter II in AR shows that old games can learn new tricks.
Street Fighter II in AR shows that old games can learn new tricks.
Screenshot: Abhishek Singh/YouTube

All the Yoga Flames, Dragon Punches and Sonic Booms of Street Fighter II spill out into the real world in a new demo that mixes classic gameplay with augmented reality.

Michigan-based software developer Abhishek Singh‘s “Real World Warrior” edition of Street Fighter II features all the familiar characters, moves and sounds of the original. But now, the game’s arena is the outside world.

“I loved playing [Street Fighter] as a kid with my sister on an actual arcade machine,” Singh told Cult of Mac. “I was thinking about multiplayer experiences and this kind of popped into my head.”

PGA Tour AR brings pro golfing geekery to iOS

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PGA TOUR AR
PGA TOUR AR shows golf holes and shots in 3D and augmented reality.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Watching golf is famously boring, but the just-announced PGA Tour AR app spices it up a bit. It brings a live, augmented reality view of golf games to iPad and iPhone, putting the tournament in users’ living rooms.

“Tapping into ARKit in iOS 11 allows us to showcase real-time data provided by ShotLink and CDW in a rich, visual way for fans,” said the PGA’s Rick Anderson in a statement. “The PGA Tour takes pride in bringing new technology to the sports world as a way of communicating to a large, diverse audience.”

Jurassic World Alive is Pokémon Go with a T. rex

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Jurassic World Alive
ARKit, uh, finds a way.
Photo: Universal/Ludia

For augmented reality maps to succeed, just add accuracy

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ARkit
New AR framework makes it easier to build mapping apps.
Photo: Dent Reality

The augmented reality revolution sparked by Apple’s ARKit needs a dash of accuracy if it’s really going to catch fire — especially when it comes to mapping.

That’s why London developer Andrew Hart created a location-aware toolkit that uses artificial intelligence to punch up the precision in apps built with ARKit.

“One problem with AR location experiences is the low accuracy of phone GPS and compasses, which makes it difficult to ensure that things line up,” Hart told Cult of Mac. “The toolkit uses computer vision techniques to recognize landscapes from tagged imagery, and then aligns the AR environment upon recognition. It works in different weather conditions, and means you can have really precise experiences.”