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Apple patents AR maps system for iPhone

Apple AR Maps

While rivals like Google and Microsoft have been going full speed ahead into the world of AR and VR, Apple hasn’t been very active in the scene. Rumor has it that the Cupertino-based brand has been secretly working on augmented reality-based projects, talk which received a significant boost a few months ago when CEO Tim Cook confirmed it was looking into AR.

Now a new patent for augmented reality maps has come to light to shed some more clarity on what Apple plans to do with AR. The company was recently granted the patent 6 years after filing it. The system takes advantage of the iPhone’s advanced sensor suite and GPS to present real-time augmented views of a person’s surroundings.

This basically means people would be able to see a virtual route on top of a live video feed from their iPhone or other iDevice’s camera when using something like Maps. They may even view street names or points of interest overlaid over the footage. The technology might also tell them if they’re going in the wrong direction with a visual indicator.

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The AR-based system could further pull data from the cloud to perform useful functions like alerting people if they’re going down a one-way street. Apple’s also come up with a neat solution for navigation, allowing iPhone owners to switch between live video and a bird’s-eye view based on device orientation.

The AR-centered mapping solution may get integrated as part of a future iOS release if Apple decided to go ahead with it. Prominent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed that the company could expand its AR plans for mobile to sectors like self-driving cars as well.