Apple's augmented-reality ambitions are once again revealed -- in patents.
Apple is now the proud owner of two patents related to augmented reality technology. The first centers on a "wearable information system" that centers on a device featuring at least one camera, a screen, and software components that allow for "computer vision."
Apple Glass concept design. Credit: Tailosive Tech/YouTube
The patent, which was discovered by AppleInsider, aims at trying to efficiently use power while still delivering augmented reality features. The patent argues that improving power efficiency could be critical to getting augmented reality devices off the ground. While it focuses on augmented reality headsets like the HoloLens, the patent also discusses how smartphones could also substitute for headsets.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also published a patent on Tuesday centering on the ways in which virtual information can be overlaid in a real world. The patent centers on the viewpoint, how data should look, and other components in creating an experience in which you'd be wearing a headset or using another device like an iPhone and be able to see virtual objects interacting with the real world.
The patents are by no means a smoking gun on what Apple's future plans are. The patents were initially filed by Metaio, an augmented reality company that the iPhone maker acquired in 2015. However, they have since been assigned to Apple.
Apple acquired Metaio as part of its broader augmented reality ambitions. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook has already acknowledged that augmented reality is a compelling technology and he's indicated that he wants to invest in it. Speculation abounds that Apple's augmented-reality ambitions might come in the form of car technology, though it's also possible it might bake it into its other devices, like the iPhone 8.
Apple might even create its own standalone headset, but our money is on an iPhone accessory first.