Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,217,290) for “registration between actual mobile device position and environmental model” that involves improved augmented reality features on the iPhone.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A user interface enables a user to calibrate the position of a three dimensional model with a real-world environment represented by that model. Using a device's sensor, the device's location and orientation is determined. A video image of the device's environment is displayed on the device's display.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that some applications are being developed for mobile devices which allow users to view an "augmented reality" or "enhanced reality" view of their real, physical environment. Some mobile devices, iPhones, come equipped with cameras and graphical display screens. A camera may be mounted on the side of the device that is opposite of the side on which the device's display is placed.
Enhanced reality applications typically capture the contents currently within the view of the camera in real time and present those contents on the display. Thus, the iPhone user can hold up the smartphone in front of his field of vision in order to use the device's graphical display as a sort of camera view finder. The device's display shows the user everything that the camera can see.