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Apple Looking to Augmented Reality for the iPhone

Apple has big plans to bring augmented reality to the iPhone.

The iPhone 6S
The iPhone 6S

To make CEO Tim Cook’s augmented reality (AR) vision a reality, the Cupertino tech firm is adding some new talent to the firm’s hardware and software teams, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The design team now includes engineers who worked on the Oculus and HoloLens virtual reality headsets sold by Facebook and Microsoft. Also on the team are Hollywood digital-effects experts. Apple snapped up a handful small firms specializing in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software as well.

The goal? To design augmented reality glasses and bring AR to the iPhone. Augmented reality, or AR, is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on to the user’s real-world view.

Apple, sources told Bloomberg, is hard at work on “digital spectacles” that would link to the iPhone and beam content such as movies, maps and more to the wearer.

Although the report indicated the glasses “are a ways off,” AR features could surface more quickly on the iPhone.

As Bloomberg points out, bringing AR to the iPhone will be far less work than building a pair of augmented reality glasses.

“Like the Watch, they’ll probably be tethered to the iPhone,” Bloomberg wrote. “While the smartphone will do the heavy lifting, beaming 3D content to the glasses will consume a lot of power, so prolonging battery life will be crucial. Content is key too. If Apple’s AR glasses lack useful apps, immersive games and interesting media content, why would someone wear them? The glasses will also require a new operating system and perhaps even a new chip. Finally, Apple will have to source the guts of the gadget cheaply enough to make it affordable for the mass market.”

Apple has yet to comment on the rumors, but given Cook’s enthusiasm for AR, it is something we can count on in future Apple products.

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