The early winner taking advantage of Apple’s next big thing is a
free app that uses your iPhone’s camera to place a cuddly pet
dragon in the real world around you.
Dragon” from PlaySide is the most-downloaded free
app that requires Apple’s ARkit, according a new analysis
of the top apps using Apple’s new augmented reality software from
Augmented reality is a technology that lets you see virtual
elements in the real world. ARKit makes it easier for app
developers to put things like virtual dragons on top of tables,
or allow your iPhone’s camera to work as a ruler.
Sensor Tower’s analysis is one of the first looks at what ARKit
apps are doing well and which ones people seem to be willing to
pay for. Apps that focus on an augmented-reality experiences
and use ARKit have been downloaded 3 million times since
September 19, according to Sensor
53% of those downloads have been for games, according to Sensor
Tower’s analysis, including “AR Dragon,” which
lets users train and grow a pet dragon, choosing
when to give him food or play with him, for example.
The second largest category is utility apps, like Ikea Place,
which lets you see how furniture would look in your home, and
TapMeasure, Occipital’s app for measuring the size of
Here are the top ARKit-only apps so far, according to Sensor
The new fart app
However, ARKit apps haven’t become a sensation. For example, “AR
Dragon” is only the no. 587 free game by downloads,
according to Sensor Tower.
In comments earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook compared the
launch of ARKit to the launch of Apple’s App Store. He
compared the early apps using ARKit to the early third-party apps
for the iPhone, which were
criticized for being gimmicks.
“Think back to 2008, when the App Store went live. There was the
initial round of apps and people looked at them and said, ‘this
is not anything, mobile apps are not going to take off,” Cook
told the Independent.
“And then step by step things start to move. And it is sort
of a curve, it was just exponential – and now you couldn’t
imagine your life without apps. Your health is on one app, your
financials, your shopping, your news, your entertainment – it’s
everything,” he continued. “AR is like that. It will be that
ARkit gives Apple a way to see the possibilities of the
technology using its giant developer base. Apple doesn’t often
tinker in public, so instead, it’s letting software makers for
the iPhone and iPad experiment.
At the same time, though, Apple has teams dedicated to building
augmented-reality hardware, including smartglasses. Many
technologists, including people inside
Apple, believe that sufficiently advanced smartglasses
may be able to replace all the screens in our lives
The Apple glasses are years away at the earliest. “Today I can
tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a
quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting
enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with
told the Independent.
But in the meantime, enthusiasts can now download
apps that place cute and cuddly pet dragons in the real
Seen a particularly clever ARkit app? Email the author