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Players can get a bonus for catching creatures using an improved augmented reality layer. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

The creators of Pokemon Go are nearly ready to turn on an improved version of the augmented reality component of the game, drawing on the ARKit tools that Apple released with iOS 11. Enthusiasts have already spotted code in the latest update to the game and the new AR+ feature is expected to debut in the coming days.

Why it matters: For Apple, it also gives them a temporary advantage over Android, as Niantic hasn't yet announced similar plans for Google's ARCore. For Niantic, improving the AR experience could draw back some lapsed users and encourage current ones to keep the AR feature turned on. (Many hard-core users keep it turned off to make gameplay easier and preserve battery.)

How it works: In the new setup, creatures are fixed to a position, getting bigger as users approach them and allowing people to view the creature from multiple angles. The creatures can now flee if approached too quickly. Players who use the new AR feature, which requires a newer iPhone or iPad with iOS 11, can get "expert handler" bonuses for catching creatures in the new AR mode.

What's next: Niantic CEO John Hanke said AR will play a big role in the company's future, including in the company's upcoming Harry Potter game, "Maybe some company will make amazing AR glasses in the future," he said, speaking alongside Joswiak at the company's San Francisco headquarters. "I can't imagine who that will be."

Apple executive Greg Joswiak didn't talk about future hardware, but did promise the company has a "long, robust roadmap" for AR. "We think this is a really big deal," he said, echoing previous comments from CEO Tim Cook. "This is not just a gimmick."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.