11/6/2017 8:03:38 AM
Learning ARKit for the average iOS developer
Learning ARKit,Augmented Reality,iOS 11
App Developer Magazine

Learning ARKit for the average iOS developer

Angela Yu Angela Yu in iOS Monday, November 6, 2017

Learning ARKit from Apple for iOS 11 devices seems like a mountain to get over for some developers, but there's hope in getting started.

Augmented Reality is not new and developers already have tools to create augmented reality (AR) apps. But with Apple’s brand-new ARKit, we’re going to see a massive shift in the landscape as this new framework simplifies the process of building AR experiences for iPhone and iPad. With ARKit in their arsenal, developers are presented with a golden opportunity and a blank canvas. The only question is, how can they truly use it to their advantage?

ARKit Feels Like a “New App Store”

It’s overwhelming for developers to go into the App Store today, because it feels like almost every app in every niche has already been created. To make a really good product, developers need to market it heavily in order to gain traction in the App Store, and categories such as games and productivity are massively dominated.

But ARKit might just be the “new” App Store. Here is a brand-new, totally unsaturated niche for developers looking to differentiate themselves. It’s also a good choice for indie developers who don’t have the marketing budget to make it into the featured or top sections of the App Store.

With ARKit being in its own category, it presents an easy way for developers to separate themselves from the clutter and get noticed for creating revolutionary new applications.

How the Average Developer Can Learn ARKit

The good news is that learning ARKit is pretty straightforward. While it does require a bit more understanding of 3D graphics programming, the framework is relatively easy to use. Plus, having Apple as the driving force behind AR is a game changer. Both in-terms of market making as well as providing the toolset. Without ARKit it would require a lot more maths and double the work to get it right.

ARKit also takes care of much of the heavy lifting for AR development. Game developers or those familiar with 3D development will find ARKit really approachable. For an existing developer, it’s safe to bet that it will take them less than a month to become proficient at using the framework and all of its capabilities.

Developers who already work with SceneKit will have a huge advantage because they’ll have a better grasp of the 3D maths involved in more advanced ARKit apps. People with development experience using Unity or other gaming platforms will also have an advantage in learning and applying ARKit, especially if they’re creating a game or multiplayer style application.

Embrace the Unknown

While AR is still an emerging field, there’s a lot of activity among developers who are trying to work out new ways of interacting with the tool. The best innovations are probably not even public yet, but there are plenty of developers already integrating existing frameworks such as Apple’s Core Location with ARKit to create some pretty interesting experiences.

As we enter a new era of highly intelligent, highly immersive apps, developers will be creating new and fantastical AR experiences for people, from trying on the latest fashion trends to defending faraway kingdoms. To become a leading expert in ARKit, all developers need to do is just put in a little effort, and they’ll find that it’s easy to get up to speed. I recommend starting today by creating an simple ARKit project and then build on that to explore all the possibilities of augmented reality apps in iOS.

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