Apple has been granted a patent for “Augmented Reality Maps” that layer map information and directions over live iPhone video, giving more credibility to recent rumors that the company will soon be integrating AR into its existing product lines. A drawing enclosed with the patent application shows street names superimposed on the image being received by the iPhone’s camera and points of interest labeled in the distance. The idea is to use the phone’s GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass to determine the device’s precise position and use that information to provide thew correct information about what’s in front of the user.
Apple’s patent adds hints that it’s working on “onscreen path indicators” to help with directions and the ability to have the iPhone shift between a bird’s-eye view when held flat while seamlessly switching to the AR overly view when help upright. CEO Tim Cook has said AR is likely to become a “core technology,” but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warned investors not to expect it for the next year or two. Kuo said he expects Apple to “leapfrog” competitors by 3-5 years once they finally enter the market, and Apple’s ambitious patent indicates they’re eyeing applications that integrate the technology to make existing products function in new ways. [via Apple Insider]