Apple’s always maintained that AR is better than VR. Tim Cook has been saying this for years. But so far we’ve seen little from the company in the area of either.
In the run up to the launch of the iPhone 8, rumours fly around at a crazy rate. Some stack up, like the removal of the Home button, while others feel a little less realistic.
Gene Munster’s comments about Apple’s AR plans for the iPhone 8 feel a little more like the latter. Who is Gene Munster, you ask? He’s an analyst, a fairly well known one too, though he’s most known for pushing the idea that Apple will one day release an HDTV.
Munster says AR will be the foundation of Apple’s iPhone 8. Not only that but the technology Apple is using is so sophisticated it will lead to a “paradigm shift” in the mobile space.
Furthermore, Bloomberg has also chimed in on this AR rumour. According to Bloomberg’s sources, Apple has hundreds of engineers working on AR for the iPhone with a view to one day releasing a pair of AR glasses.
“One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person’s head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works. […] Apple may choose to not roll out these features, but such additions are an up-and-coming trend in the phone business,” said the report.
These “discrete” AR devices are still at least 12 months away, but some of the nascent AR technology – or, the foundation of which it will be built upon – could feature inside Apple’s iPhone 8 handset.
Apple has hinted at its preference for AR many times in the past, but could we see it actually included inside this year’s iPhone release? I’m kind of skeptical, as we often here about “things” Apple is “working” on only to discover that they take around five years to actually appear.
The dual-lens camera and removal of the home button are two excellent examples of this type of thing being talked about long before they became a reality. Ditto the iPad Pro (10 points if you remember the iPad Maxi rumours).
Apple has ex-Google Glass, Oculus and HoloLens engineers working on it’s AR platform, so it’s not a question of whether Apple is doing something AR-related for iPhone – it’s happening right now.
The only real question is when we get to see it?
Personally, I’d love to see something like this announced during the iPhone keynote inside Q4. It’d be like Apple switching to 64-bit, taking the industry by surprise, and forcing nearly every other player in the space to rethink their mobile strategy all over again.