Apple has always been an admirer of Augmented Reality over Virtual Reality, and its latest patent just makes it evident. The Cupertino giant has been granted a patent from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, detailing an augmented reality mapping system for Apple iPhones.
The technology is touted to utlize iPhone's hardware to offer real-time augmented views of user's surrounding environment. Let's find out more about the new patent and Apple's plans for future iPhones.
What is Apple's U.S. Patent No. 9,488,488?
It was in February 2010 when Apple first applied for the patent no. 9,488,488. The AR Maps patent technology illustrates how Apple iPhone's sensors and imaging abilities can be used to overlay digitally mapped data onto real-time video captured by iPhone's camera.
The technology can be utilized by Apple to create an iOS-based Augmented Reality service in the near future.
How this technology works?
As per U.S. Patent, the AR maps technology involves a user point a handheld communication device to capture and display a real-time video stream. The handheld communication device, which in this case will be iPhone, detects geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the image capture device. The device then sends a search request to a server for nearby points of interest and in return receives search results based on the search request, geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the handheld communication device.
Based on the received data, the device then visually augments the captured video stream with data related to each point of interest that can be date of established, food menu, timings, entry fees, etc.
What does this mean to Users?
After processing the information from server and merging it onto real-time videos, Apple devices will then allow users to see the real-time information on their iPhone's screen. Imagine a scenario where you just need to point your iPhone's camera on a building and you get all the information about the food joints, retail stores, brand outlets, etc. on your phone's screen.
A user can simply select a point of interest to visit and will get all the relevant information on screen without manually searching it on internet.
When it is coming to iPhones?
It's too early to say how Apple plans to implement the patented technology for its devices. The visual enhancements onto live videos is the best bet, but Apple can play around with it and can come up with many exciting things. We might see a whole new app-ecosystem from Apple on the new ‘Augmented Reality' tech.
And as Apple Insider cites words of Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple might use the mobile AR technology to revolutionize the autonomous driving systems in the near future.
Is there a Competition?
Apple is not the first one to utilize the Augmented Reality technology in mobile devices. We have already witnessed the Pokemon Go Fever and has seen AR/VR solutions from Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
It's time Apple steps into the arena to showcase how it can bring a change with its share of Augmented Reality ideas.
Image Source: USPTO