Apple is gearing up to make a push into the augmented reality industry, according to a new report by Bloomberg.
The Cupertino-based tech giant is apparently working on a pair of digital AR “spectacles” that could connect to the company’s various devices, including its flagship iPhone, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Monday, citing anonymous sources “with knowledge of the company’s plans.” Notably, this reports lines up with a previous rumor that Apple is partnering with German optical company Carl Zeiss on a pair of augmented reality glasses — a device which one tech blogger claims could be unveiled this summer.
The company is also reportedly working on a Snapchat-esque feature that could allow virtual objects, filters or effects to be placed on a person or scene. This feature is in addition to several updated camera features, including an ability that would allow users to change the depth of an iPhone picture, or similarly, change the depth of certain objects within that picture after it’s been taken, Bloomberg reported.
This report is only the most recent in a increasingly large body of evidence that suggests Apple is ready to dive into AR and VR. Last month, Apple was granted a pair of patents: one for a wearable AR device, and another for a method of displaying information through such a device. And that’s not including the patents the company was granted this month for AR maps, facial recognition, a head-mounted device and camera sensor systems.
Apple has also made a series of AR-related acquisitions and hires over the years, and the evidence is mounting that the company is looking into making its first foray into the growing field. There’s even a rumor that Apple has over 1,000 engineers working on AR-related technology. A research note by analyst Gene Munster claims that Apple will look to incorporate its vast AR/VR intellectual properties and systems within the next two years — calling iOS a “ripe ecosystem,” which could support VR/AR by 2018. And while the specifics of Apple’s AR technology has been largely a well-kept secret as of now, it could turn out to be revolutionary once launched.