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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

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.