Apple working on 3D AR maps projected from an iPhone

iPhone Apple Maps
Photo by Enrique Alarcon on Unsplash

Apple has been trying to make AR happen, but the technology is still something of a niche. iPhone users haven’t really taken to augmented reality the way it hoped, but the company isn’t giving up just yet.

Not only is the 2019 iPhone lineup expected to come with advanced AR features, but Apple Maps is set to project 3D mini cities onto tables. Apple filed a patent for this concept back in May 2016 and just got approval for it recently. That’s enough time for such a feature to come to iOS 13, but we can’t be sure of timelines just yet.

iPhone Apple Maps AR
Image Via: Patently Apple/USPTO

As picked up by Patently Apple, the patent discusses how a user could use Apple Maps’ 3D Flyover data to generate a 3D environment right in their room. Tourists trying to navigate a large city would benefit greatly from this since it would give them a proper idea of what to expect and how to navigate the area using this mini replica 3D projection.

Apple Maps AR Technology

Apple already has the technology for this ready. It introduced a game called SwiftShot this year which helps developers make AR games which are meant to be played on a tabletop or similar flat surface. The concept is the same, except a 3D map sounds more complicated.

The patent also talks about how the user won’t have to use their hands to zoom in or out. The experience will be more interactive, so they’ll have to walk closer to get closer or walk away to get a wider view.

Also Read: Apple patents wraparound all-glass iPhone with rear touchscreen

Other patents have suggested ideas like being able to see arrows projected onto an environment when trying to navigate on an iPhone. Apple Maps hasn’t really taken off, but this push towards AR could help it gain some popularity.

Worst case scenario, 3D AR maps is a neat gimmick which no one uses. Best case scenario, it becomes a hit which helps Apple set itself apart from Google.