Open world games nearly always have a form of augmented GPS. Whether it’s arrows laying out in front of you, or pop-up street signs to help along the way, depending on the era the game takes place, videogames have to direct you when you’re playing in a realistic, wide open space. It’s similar to how we depend on our smartphones to direct us wherever we go, abandoning the yesteryear of printing out directions from Mapquest and getting lost. (Well, we still get lost sometimes.) Of all the GPS apps out there, Apple Maps may be one of the most inaccurate and frustrating, but recently Apple made a huge step in a new direction. Apple officially patented augmented reality maps.
This is a longtime coming. And Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no qualms about his preference of augmented reality over virtual reality. Back in 2010, Apple first filed its patent for AR maps, which finally saw approval on November 9th. The patent describes Apple’s goal of iPhones being able to capture live video and map appropriate data over it in real-time, paving the way for hardware-based AR capabilities—possibly similar to Google’s Tango. As of now, there’s no iPhones around that lean into this functionality, which heavily hints at future iPhones having the necessary sensors and camera to make this idea come to life.
But Apple’s proposed AR Maps won’t merely be for fetching directions, but for acclimating information about one’s surroundings too, like when a nearby restaurant closes, all from the screen of one’s phone. When Apple’s patent becomes a reality, it will be interesting to see AR helping us in our everyday lives. But that leads to another question, what will entice users to whip out their phone’s camera to fetch directions? Or is Siri robotically barking directions at us enough?
You can read more about Apple’s patent for AR maps here, just beware of jargon.