Open up the App Store on your iPhone and you’ll find a plethora of apps that introduce augmented reality to your iPhone, but for now, that’s the only way you can get it. Apple is yet to make augmented reality a native feature, but a recently discovered patent application suggests the technology could one day appear in the built-in Maps app for iOS.
Filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the application is titled simply “Augmented Reality Maps,” and describes a new mapping feature for iOS devices that uses your camera along with augmented reality to give you directions and overlay points of interest on your maps — just like a number of third-party apps already available.
Apple’s system focuses on the point of interest you’d like to visit and then provides you with directions to it, using your camera to capture a video stream and then overlaying information, such as street names, onto the image.
Apple seems to have focused heavily on mapping technology in recent years, acquiring two mapping companies — Placebase and Poly 9 — in the past three years. It has also been actively recruiting to its ‘Geo Team’ with the intention of taking its Maps app for iOS “to the next level.”