iPhone camera is the key to Apple’s AR future

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iPhone 7 iSight camera
The iPhone's camera will be an AR portal.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A secret team of Apple employees are working on a project that will turn iPhone cameras everywhere into a portal for augmented reality.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he’s bullish on the future of AR, and according to a new report the company is working on a total game changer.

“Apple is integrating augmented reality technology into the iPhone’s camera app,” claims Business Insider. The project is supposedly comprised of teams from several startups Apple recently acquired.

Augmented future

The plan would allow Apple to get augmented reality technology into consumers’ hands in the near future, while the company continues to develop its AR headset. Other tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Snapchat and the secretive startup Magic Leap are also rumored to be working on AR headsets.

Developers will allegedly be able to tap into Apple’s AR tech via an SDK. This will allow Apple to create an all new marketplace for AR apps.

Details on the AR project are slim, but it sounds like Apple plans to add object recognition and machine learning to the camera app. Users will then be able to point the camera at objects to see information about it overlayed on the screen.

This would provide a launching platform and foundations for Apple’s larger AR ambitions that will be powered through the iPhone.

Apple’s AR glasses aren’t expected to come out until 2018 at the earliest. The company recently hired an expert in head-worn displays to boost the project. We could see AR tech added to the camera app as soon as iOS 11, which is expected to be revealed in the summer of 2017.

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