True to its word, Apple's next experiment in innovation is augmented reality, with plans to integrate the technology into the iPhone's camera app.
For this, Apple has acquired several key people across a number of startups, working with them to deliver augmented reality to consumers.
Augmented Reality On iPhone
Possibilities of AR implementation on iPhone is fertile, though Apple seems mainly focused on object recognition, which allows users to point their iPhones at a specific real word object and have it determined by AR technology, as reported by Business Insider, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Another AR integration could be recognition and manipulation of human faces, a feat Apple can readily take since its latest operating system supports facial recognition technology, and having FaceShift on its shore certainly makes this more likely.
In a similar cycle with Apple's touch ID fingerprint sensor, it will distribute the SDK behind the technology for app developers eventually after the AR features are built into iPhone's camera app. Hopefully, this SDK won't mirror Siri's very limited third-party integration.
Apple's Acquisition Of AR Companies
In recent years, Apple has been steadily acquiring AR-focused companies such as Metaio in 2014 and FlyBy Media early this year. Employees from both companies are now actively working in Apple's camera group, according to Business Insider.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a type of technology which lays digital elements onto physical environments via a camera device. Minimal tinges of AR can be found in Pokémon GO, a popular app that uses the technology to overlay Pokémon creatures onto real world environment.
Every tilt and pan of the device is determined by the device's gyroscope and accelerometer. Through this, augmented reality knows where to position the digital elements onto the recorded environment so as to appear that the said elements are actually integrated into the physical world.
Uses for this technology are varied, some of which enhance gameplay while others give extra functionality. For example, maps can be overlaid when you point your device in a specific location to provide extra navigational help. It can also add a touch of realism to games, exemplified greatly by Microsoft's HoloLens and by some measure, Google's Tango project.
Apple Might Also Be Developing Smart Glasses
Speaking of AR, Apple might also be developing its own pair of Smart Glasses that's meant to be paired with an iPhone to display contextual information. However, we may not see this at least until 2018 or even later.