Avi Cieplinski, the former Apple engineer who co-invented the 3D Touch and Taptic Engine iPhone features, has joined mapping startup Mapbox to create AR software tools.
Mapbox does not make a mapping app itself, but rather creates the location-aware tools other developers can incorporate into their own apps. For instance, its technology is used in Snapchat and the Instacart grocery delivery app.
“Augmented reality is a great example of something that is new and very exciting, but also ill-defined, especially when you think about what it’s going to do for regular people,” Cieplinski told Reuters. “This is a great company to do that work in.”
The report continues that:
“Just as he helped app developers understand how to work those features into their software, Cieplinski said he hopes to help software developers integrate augmented reality and maps of the real world. That could mean anything from pinning a game character to real world location similar to Pokemon Go, to letting users see ‘through’ buildings because Mapbox’s data knows what is on the other side.”
Last year, Mapbox raised $164 million in venture funding. In addition to Avi Cieplinski, it has also hired executives who were previously at Tesla and Google.
The next big thing?
Tim Cook has talked up augmented reality since Apple moved into the field with the introduction of ARKit. However, despite an initial flurry of interest, adoption from developers has been somewhat limited.
At WWDC, Apple ramped up its efforts in this field with the introduction of ARKit, complete with sharable file system, improved face tracking, more realistic rendering, 3D object detection, and — most exciting of all — shared experiences.
What is your appraisal of AR thus far? Are you convinced it is the next big thing, or is this an overhyped field? Let us know your comments below.