Lego Ninjago AR app brings toys to virtual life

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Lego Ninjago AR brings playsets to life in a mixed reality in game.
Lego Ninjago AR brings playsets to life in a mixed reality in game.
Photo: Lego

At Apple’s developer conference in June, Lego demonstrated an app built with ARkit that placed real Lego sets in virtual environments. The first version of that software just launched today.

Lego Ninjago AR lets players interact with certain Dragon Hunters sets. And two people can play together thanks to the multi-player capabilities added in ARkit 2.

Pokémon Go player-vs.-player battles teased again

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A major missing feature from Pokémon GO will be added soon.
A major missing feature from Pokémon Go will be added soon.
Photo: Niantic

Every version of Pokémon is about players using pocket monsters to battle other trainers. Well, every version except Pokémon Go, which conspicuously lacks the capability to let you go head-to-head with another player.

Game developer Niantic promised this feature would arrive before the end of the year. The company suggested today that the wait is almost over.

Next Harry Potter game will be Pokémon Go for wizards

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A teaser trailer reveals the theme of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
A teaser trailer reveals the theme of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Photo: Niantic

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will use augmented reality to let players seemingly cast spells in the real world, while encountering characters and creatures from the Wizarding World.

It had been scheduled to be released before the end of this year. Instead, all we’re getting is a teaser trailer and a promise that this AR game will be out in 2019.

2019 iPad could sport revolutionary 3D scanning tech

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LEGO AR Studio
Apple's adding its laser-scanning tech to the next iPad.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is all-in on augmented reality. This requires sensing the objects around the computer and user, which is why Apple reportedly intends to build its new “Time of Flight” laser scanning technology into the back of the next iPad.

The 2018 iPad Pro isn’t even out yet and there’s already a possible reason to wait on its replacement .

New Pokémon Go feature makes exercise enticing

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Pokémon GO Adventure Sync rewards you for exercising with the Candy needed to Power Up and evolve your pocket monster.
Pokémon GO Adventure Sync rewards you for exercising with the Candy needed to Power Up and evolve your pocket monster.
Photo: Niantic

Playing Pokémon GO requires you to get off the couch and explore the world. The game now takes that idea and runs with it (pun intended) by rewarding you for exercising even when not hunting virtual monsters.

Don’t expect 2018 iPhones to pack rear-facing 3D sensors

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iPhone 8 Plus
They're just not ready to deliver next-generation AR.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple won’t integrate rear-facing 3D sensors in this year’s iPhone lineup, according to one reliable analyst. Earlier predictions suggested the company would make the upgrade in an effort to deliver even greater augmented reality experiences.

Ming-Chi Kuo says the technology just isn’t ready for the iPhone.

Apple hiring a neuroscientist, possibly for its mystery AR headset

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Apple glasses
Apple has high expectations for its products, and it might take a neuroscientist to build its augmented reality glasses.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Apple employs a broad range of people, from software developers to retail staff. And soon, at least one neuroscientist.

The company is seeking an expert in sensory perception, suggesting the scientist will be employed developing its mysterious augmented reality glasses.

Apple seeks help giving Apple Maps an AR overhaul

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Apple Maps
Apple Maps could make the leap off our iPhones and iPads.
Photo: Apple

Recent job listings on Apple’s hiring page suggest the company is considering giving Apple Maps an AR overhaul.

The move would keep pace with Google, which showed off an AR mapping feature for Google Maps at its I/O event earlier this year. It comes at a particularly interesting time for Apple, as the company recently acquired an AR headset maker. It’s yet another hint that augmented reality won’t stay confined to our iOS devices for long!

Apple buys startup that builds AR headset displays

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Apple glasses
Apple AR glasses just became more likely.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Apple just dropped a big clue that it’s planning to make a pair of augmented reality glasses with its latest acquisition.

The company confirmed this week that it purchased a Colorado-based startup called Akonia that’s focused on making lenses for wearable headset displays and it could help Apple create thin, transparent smart glass lenses with vibrant full colors.