On September 4th 2014, Apple made two applications for new patents which reveal that the company is focused on expanding the navigation capabilities of iPhone with the use of augmented reality features. The intentions are for the smartphone to use its camera together with designated software to produce a virtual map of the place where you are. There will be real feed overlay. You will be able to take a peek inside the buildings around you as well.
With iPhone augmented reality navigation, user’s position will be identified with the use of sensor-generated information, GPS and Wi-Fi internet connection. Then a 3-dimentional model of the surrounding area will be downloaded. It will include places of interest. As the data from the sensors can allow for differences between the virtual and real surroundings, the technology will use video produced by the camera of the iPhone. In this way, the user will be able to match augmented reality elements with what is seen around. It will be possible to “see through walls” and check out what is inside the buildings in the surrounding area.
Currently, users can take advantage of a similar feature, “Flyover”, in iOS Maps. With it, they can see satellite images in 3D. This makes city street views interactive. This feature does not use augmented reality technology, however. Apple is not a pioneer in the use of augmented reality functionalities of this type. Other companies like Layar have used it before. The company’s idea, however, is to make the technology more functional and convenient for the average smartphone user.
The extravagant features of iOS Maps are certainly impressive and give it a competitive edge. Still, this one will certainly not be integrated into shipping software in the near future. It is an interesting new idea, however. It could fit perfectly in Apple’s plans for making indoor positioning even more advanced.