Apple is working on putting augmented reality (AR) technology into the iPhone. And it involves the use of the smartphone's camera.
Business Insider reports that a source familiar with the matter said Apple has assembled a team that will integrate AR technology into the iPhone's camera app. This effort involves teams from several of the startups that Apple acquired.
The source said that Apple wants iPhone to recognize a real-world object when consumers point the device to it while using the camera app. Adding AR to the iPhone would require creating or licensing a database of 3D objects.
Once the AR features are built into the iPhone's camera app, Apple plans to release the technology behind it as an SDK for app developers, the source said. Once this happens, Apple now becomes a competitor to companies like Vuforia and Blippar.
AR is currently making a wave in the world of technology. A lot of companies are trying to take advantage of integrating digital objects into the real world. Pokemon GO is a popular example of this, where Niantic was able to superimpose Pokemon into the city streets, parks, and so on.
The latest development from Apple reflects the iPhone maker's near-term desire to make AR technology accessible to its consumers. The ultimate goal is still to develop a pair of smart glasses that integrates AR.
Apple is actually in the process of developing a special glass as well. The company recently hired an expert in head-mounted displays, the latest sign of Apple's longer-term glass initiative.
Apple Insider reports that has already known to be working on AR solutions. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, had already confirmed Apple's interest during a quarterly investors' conference call in July. And on multiple occasions, Apple has reiterated their bullish stance on AR technology.
To make this desire a reality, Apple has been filing AR/VR patents, including IP covering an AR mapping system for iPhone, which was granted last week. The company has also been acquiring startups such as motion capture specialist Faceshift, machine learning and computer vision startup Perceptio and German AR firm Metaio.