News: Apple Granted Patent to Make Augmented Reality Maps—Hinting at a Cool, Futuristic Version of Our Well-Worn Maps App

Apple Granted Patent to Make Augmented Reality Maps—Hinting at a Cool, Futuristic Version of Our Well-Worn Maps App

Apple Granted Patent to Make Augmented Reality Maps—Hinting at a Cool, Futuristic Version of Our Well-Worn Maps App

Apple recently scored a patent (number 9,488,488) to create augmented reality maps, hinting at possible AR integration into the iOS Maps application for iPhone. Does this mean we'll be seeing super visionary projections of places in the app in the near future? Maybe.

Apple files and receives patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office all the time.

For instance, Apple was granted a patent to create a vaporizer in January. The application described it as a "chamber body" that takes in an unidentified substance to be "vaporized or sublimated into a vapor." Have we seen this new Apple vaporizer on the market or even heard about it from our stoner friends? Nope. Getting a patent is a start, but it never guarantees any of these exciting ideas churning into actual products in our hands.

We can all hope, though.

According to Apple World Today, Apple's augmented reality patent—which is currently being updated with application 15/341,915—describes an iPhone user as pointing her device at a location to capture and then display a live video stream. The iPhone finds your geographic position and recognizes the direction and tilt of your camera. Then, you can search for points of interest in relation to your area.

The possible future of Maps? Image by Keiichi Matsuda/Vimeo

After the iPhone receives all of your GPS information, search requests, and camera info, it visually augments a live video stream with data related to your area and your interests. You can select which point of interest is to your liking, which will bring you to an augmented directional map in response to your chosen area.

At least, that's the patented idea for now. Augmented reality will supplement your Maps app with additional information that you couldn't get from looking at a regular old map or even in real-time. So if you're walking through New York City and want to go to the closest ATM, you could potentially point your iPhone at your current location, which will reveal an AR video stream, search for "ATM," and then watch as your real-time view is supplemented with augmented search engine results. Then, if all goes well, follow your augmented yellow brick road all the way to the bank.

Apple filed for this patent in 2010, which explains the dated iPhone look here. Image by Apple/USPTO

What would you like to see augmented in your Maps app? Dinosaurs? More Pokémon? Comment below!

Cover image via Keiichi Matsuda/Vimeo

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