Apple looking to add augmented reality to maps app?

There have been a slew of Apple patents hitting the web recently, and many of them detail some pretty cool new stuff. We’ve seen everything from iPhones with projectors, to a new set of gestures in iOS. Though, when looking through all the patent-related stories that have been cropping up, it becomes clear that one aspect of iOS has been receiving a bit more attention than the rest – maps.

Up until this point, the iOS maps application has been kind of, well, unexciting. At least for me, it’s always been one of those apps that I’m stuck with but never really use, so I just throw it in a folder and forget about it. With the wide array of more fully-featured mapping apps out there, I admit I rarely use Apple’s version. However, it definitely seems as though Apple is trying to change this. A few patents have surfaced recently that, if they actually make it to iOS, could really transform the maps app from lackluster to a robust navigation tool.

First, last week a patent appeared explaining something called Schematic Maps, which would distort or exaggerate an on-screen map to make it easier for a user to view and follow a route.

Today, details have flooded the web about the possible inclusion of augmented reality in iOS via a new feature called Maps + Compass. For those that don’t know, augmented reality is a feature that overlays information or alters the image of a live video feed. In this case, video feed from the iPhone’s camera would be overlaid with information like street names, points of interest, directions, and more.

In the patent application, Apple claims that,

“an instruction that directs a user to go north on Main St. assumes that the user could discern which direction is north. Further, in some instances, street signs might be missing or indecipherable, making it difficult for the user to find the directed route.”

Adding augmented reality to iOS could change all that with directions displayed directly on the map in real time. What’s more, this feature would even have the ability to alert a user when he or she is going in the wrong direction.

What’s more, it appears that Apple plans to integrate augmented reality with the Schematic Maps feature from last week. According to Patently Apple,

“Apple’s Jaron Waldman states that in some embodiments, the route could be represented as a schematic map, i.e., a simplified map that includes only relevant information for the user in an easy-to-read format.”

So what do you guys think about these map improvements? Are they enough to make you ditch the TomTom app, or are you still skeptical that Apple can produce an adequate navigation system? Tweet me or leave a comment below.

Via: Patently Apple

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  • Frameguy53

    I use the map app on my iPhone all the time, also as a GPS, and it works just fine!

  • Anonymous

    right.. another patent on progressive inevitably technology, of an
    idea that’s already been introduced years ago, an idea that’s already a
    product in refinement today..

    just to name one example (of others out there)
    http://www.betanews.com/article/Augmented-reality-navigation-app-Wikitude-Drive-comes-to-US/1311093181

    Seems like they cant come up w their own ideas anymore so they just rush to be the first to patent everyone else’s ideas.

    • Jackizzback

      Sounds to me like your a jelous fanboy to me “lAmDroid”. Grow up. Cut the crap with pointing fingers and choosing sides and just be happy that technology is being made easier. Coke and Pepsi all over again. Come on.

      • Anonymous

        Well if apple wasn’t suing for everything than it would be different. But since apple feels they own and can patent everything that is why people “point fingers” and don’t give me the fanboy line I own an iphone and a droid and have no loyalty I get what works best for me.

    • Anonymous

      They can’t sue for prior tech, so all the phones that have had it in them for years wont be affected and they can’t come after google or others atleast not for this.