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Apple wants the iPhone and iPad to be able to show AR maps

Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230417567 A1) for viewing augmented reality maps on the iPhone and iPad.

About the patent filing

The patent filing relates to searching for nearby points of interest, and more particularly to displaying information related to nearby points of interest overlaid onto a video feed of a surrounding area.

In the patent filing Apple notes that augmented reality systems supplement reality, in the form of a captured image or video stream, with additional information. In many cases, such systems take advantage of a portable electronic device’s imaging and display capabilities and combine a video feed with data describing objects in the video. In some examples, the data describing the objects in the video can be the result of a search for nearby points of interest.

For example, a user visiting a foreign city can point a handheld communication device and capture a video stream of a particular view. A user can also enter a search term, such as museums. The system can then augment the captured video stream with search term result information related to nearby museums that are within the view of the video stream. This allows a user to supplement their view of reality with additional information available from search engines.

However, Apple notes that if a user desires to visit one of the museums, the user must switch applications, or at a minimum, switch out of an augmented reality view to learn directions to the museum. The tech giant says that such systems can fail to orient a user’s with a poor sense of direction and force the user to correlate the directions with objects in reality. And such a transition is not always as easy as it might seem. For example, an instruction that directs a user to go north on Main St. assumes that the user can discern which direction is north. Further, in some instances, street signs might be missing or indecipherable, making it difficult for the user to find the directed route.

Apple’s solution is for the iPhone and iPad to be able to display augmented reality maps. By interpreting the data from a video feed describing the surrounding areas, the device can determine what objects are presently being viewed on the display. The iPhone or iPad could further overlay information regarding the presently viewed objects, thus enhancing reality. 

The devices could also display search results overlaid onto the displayed video feed. Search results need not be actually viewable by a user in real life. Instead, search results can also include more-distant objects.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A handheld communication device can capture and display a real-time video stream. The handheld communication device detects a geographic position and camera direction of the handheld communication device. A route is identified from the geographic position of the handheld communication device to a point of interest. The captured video stream is visually augmented with an indicator indicating a direction to travel to the point of interest. The indicator is overlaid on the captured real-time video stream.”

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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