We all know what the next big thing Google plans to come out with (other than autonomous cars). Their stance with augmented reality seems pretty clear, after their release of the Google glasses viral video.
Where will Apple stand with this technology? Jupiter Research had stamped augmented reality hardware with “Annual revenues…will exceed $6 billion by 2012”. There is no doubt Apple will take a bite sized chunk out of those dollars. If you keep track of the companies they have been acquiring lately, it is clear that Apple is planning something big…as usual.
In 2011 Apple bought out C3 Technologies. A company that effectively captures high definition 3D images, stiching them together to create crisp photo-realistic 3D maps. The work is done by flying drones with a pricy camera strapped onto the plane, you can see the whole process in C3’s old promotion video to the left.
The quality of the 3D maps produced outperforms google maps (and earth) by a long shot. It’s been rumored that Apple will be removing Google Maps from the next iPhone, one can only assume that they will be replacing it with their own map app, using C3 technologies.
These maps could easily be used into a video game (as the video above showed it’s already being using for simulations), which is a nice thought, given that the C3 Tech executives are now working in the iOS division. Just imagine the possibilities for a game with the world as your map, you’re the controller and the screen just rests in front of your eyes.
Now Apple hasn’t been only purchasing mapping technologies. They bought Face detection software from a company called Polar Rose in September 2010. This technology is most likely already being used with iPhoto’s face recognition service for now, but it’s doubtful that it will be its only use. Being able to detect faces for augmented reality is essential. At first we may see filters for faces. Apps that make it seem like everyone around you (could be everyone excluding your friends or contacts in your networks) would be wearing Scream masks, or look the the Joker from Batman. This isn’t a new feature, it has already been done with webcams years ago, just the ability to virtually put a mask (or anything) onto anyone you see around you, would be very amusing at first.
From the big shots it’d be likely to see Facebook and other major social networks, have live information posted beside everyone’s face. With over 900 million users, you would be able to see some augmented information at least 1 in 8 people that walk by you. If it was a friend, you could see their recent activity on their timeline or tweets. If it was someone you didn’t know, it would depend on their privacy on what you see. For networking this would be helpful, as you could see anyone’s linked-in profile without having to go through the finicky search feature. To get a better idea of how the information could appear, look at the illustration to the left.
Who knows when Apple will release AR hardware. The iPod, iPhone and iPad all have the capability to use some current AR. For the real deal, the next new innovative product they release, Tim Cooks opportunity to shine, its only a matter of years until something is released, do you think he can produce a new product up to Jobs standards?.