What Google Maps? Apple Wants Augmented Reality to Power Apple Maps

AR support for maps app is something that many have tried to do, but at this point, everybody hopes that Google, Apple or the other tech giants out there would focus more on such capabilities for their already super-popular mapping services.
Patent drawing detailing AR in Apple Maps 6 photos
Photo: USPTO
Patent drawing detailing AR in Apple MapsPatent drawing detailing AR in Apple MapsPatent drawing detailing AR in Apple MapsPatent drawing detailing AR in Apple MapsPatent drawing detailing AR in Apple Maps
Apple itself seems to be very interested in a mix of augmented reality and maps, as the company has recently received a patent that provides us with an early glimpse into how the iPhone could soon completely change the way we use such apps on our mobile devices.

Called “Augmented reality interface for interacting with displayed maps,” the patent describes a very complex approach that would make using services like Apple Maps more straightforward.

And while the patent makes it sound super-complicated, the whole idea is a lot simpler: Apple wants iPhone users to be able to point the camera at their surroundings and then using Apple Maps to get information on specific points of interest or even navigation instructions.

So technically, using AR support powered by the iPhone camera, Apple Maps could essentially be able to scan buildings, roads, and everything around the user, determine their location, and then provide the required information in a more straightforward way.

Various embodiments of the disclosure pertain to an augmented or virtual reality interface for interacting with maps displayed from a virtual camera perspective on a mobile device. Instead of manipulating the position of the virtual camera using a touchscreen interface, some embodiments allow a special location of the mobile device to control the position of the virtual camera,” the patent reads.

For example, a user can tilt the mobile device to obtain different angles of the virtual camera. As another example, the user can move the mobile device vertically to change the height of the virtual camera, e.g. a higher altitude above the ground,” it adds.

The patent also paves the way for more important updates for Apple Maps. For example, an AR version of Apple Maps could allow someone to explore certain locations using nothing more than virtual rendering, which they can further interact with using their iPhones, just like the way AR games allow us to interact with virtual objects in our living rooms.

Of course, everything’s still in patent stage for now, so you’d better not hold your breath for anything like this to happen overnight.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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