Apple is almost certainly working on its own augmented reality/virtual reality headset (usually dubbed “Apple Glasses” and expected in 2020). A new patent filing (number 20190139317) dubbed “synchronized, interactive augmented reality displays for multifunction devices’ adds fuel to the rumor.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that augmented reality (AR) tech combines a live view of a real-world, physical environment with computer-generated imagery. Information about the real world environment can be stored and retrieved as an information layer which can be overlaid on the live view and interacted with by a user.
However, Apple says that "despite strong academic and commercial interest in AR systems, many existing AR systems are complex and expensive making such systems unsuitable for general use by the average consumer.” Apparently, the tech giant wants to change this.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A device can receive live video of a real-world, physical environment on a touch sensitive surface. One or more objects can be identified in the live video. An information layer can be generated related to the objects. In some implementations, the information layer can include annotations made by a user through the touch sensitive surface.
“The information layer and live video can be combined in a display of the device. Data can be received from one or more onboard sensors indicating that the device is in motion. The sensor data can be used to synchronize the live video and the information layer as the perspective of video camera view changes due to the motion. The live video and information layer can be shared with other devices over a communication link.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.