Augmented reality is a major focal point for Apple in general, with ARKit being the stable groundwork from which the company can build upon (and allow developers to create their own AR-based tools and games).
Whether or not that means we see a pair of AR glasses with an Apple logo on them at some point in the future remains to be seen. But we know that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has a lot of faith in AR as a platform, so it is not surprising to see the company working on a variety of different tasks that AR would be a good fit for.
For instance, how about seeing a map on a tabletop? That’s the latest patent app that Apple was granted recently, which the company first filed back in May of 2016. Patently Apple discovered the new patent and outlines the technical jargon to paint a picture of what this could look like in the future, as a real product. The idea is pretty straightforward: Use an iOS device like an iPhone to display Maps on a flat surface like a tabletop.
You’ll of course still need to use the iPhone, or iPad, as a viewfinder to look at the map on the flat surface. But this could be a great way to see even more detail on a bigger canvas.
The patent suggests that interaction with the map would actually be reliant on movement, rather than the touchscreen, so users would be tasked with shifting around the table, getting closer, that sort of thing to manipulate the visuals. But, as noted in the original report, this could be a way for someone who is just visiting a city to see the map in front of them, in great detail, to get a better feel for where they need to go or what they are looking for.
It also looks like Apple’s 3D Flyover data is a requirement for the AR-based feature, so this could definitely be a useful tool in the major cities across the globe, along with landmarks.
Is this a feature we may see sooner rather than later? Who knows! It’s an Apple patent, after all, so this doesn’t indicate any eventual outcome one way or another. This does sound like a cool feature, though, and one that could definitely show off the power of AR in an aspect that goes beyond just games.[via Patently Apple]