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Pokémon GO Gets Better AR Features, But Only On iOS

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Popular game Pokémon GO is about to get a neat update on iOS, which will enable more advanced augmented reality features.

Game developer, Niantic Labs, has just announced that the iOS version of the mobile game will get an update later this week, designed to take advantage of Apple's iOS 11 ARKit framework.

Pokémon GO AR+ With iOS 11 ARKit

With this framework, Niantic Labs can add a new AR+ mode in Pokémon GO, sporting notably more advanced AR features to enhance the whole experience. Apple's ARKit allows iOS developers to maximize the hardware and software of iPhones and iPads to seamlessly enrich the real world with virtual objects.

Niantic plans to take advantage of this ARKit to place Pokémon with higher accuracy and better size ratios in the camera viewfinder. So far, Pokémon GO just estimated objects' approximate location and inserted the pocket monsters in that real-world environment, but it didn't work as seamless.

The all-new AR+ mode that taps Apple's ARKit builds on the existing AR features of Pokémon GO, aiming to take things to the next level. The new AR+ will soon be available globally for iOS 11 users playing Pokémon GO on the iPhone 6s or newer generations.

"With AR+, Pokémon are now fixed to a point in space, meaning you can walk up close to a Pokémon to see to how they'll look in the real world," touts the Pokémon GO team. "This feature brings us one step closer to truly realizing Pokémon the way they are supposed to be represented in the real world. Pokémon GO AR photos will never be the same again!"

Seeing Pokémon Up Close

While getting near a Pokémon to see how it looks like up close sounds exciting, it might not be that easy. The pocket monsters will get away if they sense someone getting too close, so Trainers will have to be extra stealthy. If they manage to sneak up close without the Pokémon running away, however, Trainers will earn a special bonus called Expert Handler. This bonus brings extra stardust, as well as more XP for the captured Pokémon.

To help Trainers figure out how close they can get to a Pokémon without scaring it away, Niantic has also added an awareness meter that will pop up right near the Pokémon. As Trainers get closer and the Pokémon sense their presence, this awareness meter will gradually fill up. When it's full, the Pokémon will run away. In some cases, tapping on the tall grass near the scene after the Pokémon fled might trick it to reappear.

The new AR+ mode might convince Pokémon GO players on iOS to keep the AR mode on at all times, although it drains the battery faster and makes it a bit harder to catch the critters.

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