- Apps requiring Apple’s ARKit, the mobile application framework for augmented reality features on iPhones, have been installed more than 3 million times worldwide, according to researcher Sensor Tower. Mobile games accounted for 53% of ARKit-only app downloads and 62% of revenues so far, making the category most popular.
- Utilities apps are in second place with 19% of installs, followed by entertainment (11%), education (7%), photo & video (6%) and Lifestyle (5%). The remaining ARKit apps (“Other”) make up 8% of ARKit apps.
- Many of the AR games use the technology in traditional strategy or puzzle games. “AR Dragon,” “Zombie Gunship Revenant” and “AR Sports Basketball” were the top three free ARKit apps. “AR Dragon” from Australia’s PlaySide Studios made up more than 20% of the top free ARKit-only app downloads, TechCrunch reported.
It’s not surprising that game apps are the leaders in embracing AR, especially after Pokemon Go last year popularized the technology among millions of smartphone users. But marketers and retailers are also making headway with AR, as Sensor Tower’s data show. The Ikea Place app that lets people place virtual furniture in their homes was the No. 4 free ARKit app behind three game titles. Interior design app Homecraft ranked as the No. 10 free app, measuring utility AR MeasureKit was No. 5 and the entertainment app Paint Space AR was No. 9.
In its ranking of ARKit-only apps, Sensor Tower didn’t include other apps that have significant features such as AR photo modes, mini-games and other ARKit-based features added onto otherwise traditional apps. Snapchat and Facebook are among the apps that use AR to apply filters and screens on photos, while Perfect and Modiface let users apply virtual makeup to selfies.
Augmented reality, the technology that overlays digital images on a real background seen through a smartphone camera, is quickly being adopted by software developers that are seeking to distinguish their mobile apps from a crowded field, the Sensor Tower data suggest. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in interviews that he’s excited about AR, and told the Independent this week that his company is focused on tackling technical hurdles to let millions of developers focus their efforts on creative uses for the technology.