IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Patent shows Apple is working on improving iPhone’s AR capabilities

The move aligns with the company's recent AR startup acquisitions

Man using augmented reality to look at machinery

A newly granted patent shows Apple is looking to improve how iPhone cameras capture three-dimensional detail, which could result in more immersive displays of augmented reality (AR)

The company’s new patent, first reported by Apple Insider, relates to how an iPhone captures 3D images and collect sdata for an AR walkthrough experience.

Currently, iPhone cameras capture the intensity of light in the scene they’re photographing. According to the new patent, future iPhone cameras would also capture the direction the light travels while recording the relative location of objects in the scene.

“The images and information may be processed to determine metadata including the relative positions of the images and depth information for the images,” the patent says. 

“The light field panorama may be processed by a rendering engine to render different 3D views of the scene,” the patent says, “to allow a viewer to explore the scene from different positions and angles with six degrees of freedom.”

The “six degrees” reference means that, within an AR display, the viewer could move forward or backward, look up or down, and even turn around and see different views of the same scene.

“Using a rendering and viewing system such as a mobile device or head-mounted display,” the patent says, “the viewer may see behind or over objects in the scene, zoom in or out on the scene, or view different parts of the scene.”

Related Resource

IT Pro 20/20: What the EU's new AI rules mean for business

The 17th issue of IT Pro 20/20 considers the effect of new regulations on the IT industry

IT Pro 20/20 Issue 17 - What the EU's new AI rules mean for businessDOWNLOAD NOW

Apple has shown plenty of interest in AR. Not only has CEO Tim Cook described it as having "profound" potential, but Apple also recently purchased AR startups Akonia Holographics and Metaio and applied for many other AR-focused patents.

There are also rumors Apple is developing an AR headset to market as an iPhone accessory. The headset would likely act as an additional screen, projecting documents, videos, games, and more to present the virtual equivalent of a super-sized display. 

Featured Resources

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

Business transformation through digital modernisation

Free Download

Delivering on demand: Momentum builds toward flexible IT

A modern digital workplace strategy

Free download

Modernise the workforce experience

Actionable insights and an optimised experience for both IT and end users

Free Download

The digital workplace roadmap

A leader's guide to strategy and success

Free Download

Recommended

Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more
Mobile

Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more

23 Jun 2022
Apple faces a catch-22 decision with iPhones and USB-C
Policy & legislation

Apple faces a catch-22 decision with iPhones and USB-C

8 Jun 2022
Apple overhauls SwiftUI navigation and brings a score of new features to developers at WWDC 2022
software development

Apple overhauls SwiftUI navigation and brings a score of new features to developers at WWDC 2022

7 Jun 2022
The EU’s Apple App Store crackdown ‘will fuel cyber attacks’
cyber security

The EU’s Apple App Store crackdown ‘will fuel cyber attacks’

1 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support

1 Jul 2022
Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59
Careers & training

Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59

30 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022