Apple may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project related to AR, UBS reports, and it could hit the iPhone 8 as early as this year. We've heard Tim Cook rave about augmented reality before, so this doesn't come as a huge surprise.
If Apple brings AR to the iPhone it will be competing with Google Tango enabled phones, like the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus ZenFone AR. Apple will have to create a superior experience to surpass the competition's head start, says UBS.
There are a few pieces of evidence used to back up the AR claim:
- Apple has acquired several AR related start-ups such as PrimeSense, Metaio, and RealFace.
- The dual-camera of the iPhone 7 Plus could potentially understand depth using the parallax effect, helping to superimpose objects.
- As mentioned, Apple has an alleged team of over 1,000 engineers working on something AR related.
- Tim Cook has stated his interest in AR numerous times, including that he thinks augmented reality has more potential than virtual reality.
Tim Cook's many musings on AR is not an official confirmation, but analyst Steven Milunovich notes in the report that "Apple has uncharacteristically broken the silence on future products with regards to AR."
We've also heard previous rumors that the iPhone 8 could use AR built in to the native camera iOS app. Putting AR into the camera app could let your iPhone recognize objects or people, somewhat similar to how iOS 10 recognizes faces.
Other companies are trying to bring AR to consumers, but with mixed results. Microsoft's HoloLens is still geared towards developers and will set you back $3,000 (£2,719, AU$4,369). While the hopeful AR start-up Magic Leap struggles to live up to its promises. If Apple does step into the AR world, it would be interesting to see what cards it brings to the table.
Stay tuned to CNET for more coverage on the upcoming iPhone 8.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.