The rumors surrounding the next iPhone and Apple's ambitions toward augmented reality have been going on for months, and a fresh development brings back the idea of Apple's Smart Connector bringing the two together. The Verifier, an Israeli news site, claims the next suite of iPhones (iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and 7s Plus) will all sport Smart Connectors for both AR and wireless charging.
The Verifier admits this rumor existed previously (and incorrectly) for Apple's current flagship, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. However, they state the AR technology wasn't ready for the iPhone 7's release, so the plans were scrapped for that phone. Now, The Verifier believes Apple has developed the technology enough to be included in this year's upcoming phones.
Of course, this is all speculation. But there have been so many rumors surrounding Apple and AR, it's hard to imagine with this much smoke, there would be no fire. Robert Scoble, a technical evangelist, has been vocal with rumors surrounding Apple and mixed reality technology:
Just had a source that I trust tell me it is a clear piece of glass. With the compute in a strip at the bottom. Translation it does Mixed Reality. VR, AR, and AI. He also talked to me about Siri. Asks 'why did Viv.ai sell to Samsung? I know the founders didn't want to do that.' So Apple showed them the new Siri for mixed reality and the game was over.
To add more fuel to the rumor fire, Apple has been granted a patent to begin making augmented reality maps, allowing you to experience an augmented view of your surrounding area, which could help you to find interesting things to do, as well as help you get where you need to go. Apple is also rumored to be integrating 3D camera technology into the iPhone 8, which would further enhance its AR capabilities.
There seems to be no end to the AR rumors surrounding Apple and their next smartphones, but they may all be leading to a virtual reality headset (or possible VR/AR combo headset). We've seen a patent by Apple detailing a headset device that would be integrated with an iPhone. Could some or all of these rumors come together to show Apple stepping into the mixed reality ring with companies like Oculus and Microsoft?
We can't know for sure until we have more information. But to anyone still not convinced of Apple's interest in AR, take it from CEO Tim Cook himself:
I'm excited about augmented reality because unlike virtual reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what's happening presently.