This year’s iPhone (tentatively dubbed the “iPhone 8“) is going to be a huge launch.
We’ve already heard a lot about the iPhone 8 through leaks. Rumors say it’ll have a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge screen, Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the screen, inductive wireless charging, a new “glass sandwich” design, faster performance, and a better dual camera system.
Aside from the new screen, what will be the iPhone 8’s killer feature? It could be augmented reality (AR).
Take a look around tech and AR is easily the most buzzed about technology. Microsoft’s got HoloLens, Google’s got Tango and Daydream VR which now includes mixed reality AR, Facebook’s looking into AR glasses, and Apple recently unveiled part of its AR ambitions with iOS 11’s impressive ARKit.
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s been teasing his excitement for AR for over a year now. Whether it’s Pokémon Go, or people playing Super Mario Bros. in Central Park, or indoor navigation, AR has the potential to transform the world like never before by layering digital information over reality.
AR with apps such as Google Lens will provide contextual information where we previously needed to jump through several steps and apps to do so.
It’s this purposeful application that will likely make AR more mainstream than VR, which incredible as it is, still isolates you from the outside world.
The 3D sensors could allow for more sophisticated augmented reality capabilities.
For Apple, the company might go all in on AR on the iPhone 8. A new research note by Bluefin Finn Research Partners claims two companies, Finisar and Lumentum, have been contracted by Apple to create a special sensor to gauge 3D depth for the iPhone 8.
It’s believed the 3D sensors will be integrated into the vertically-aligned dual-camera system located on the back of the iPhone 8. The 3D sensors, coupled with the dual-cameras, could allow for more sophisticated augmented reality capabilities than simply relying on cameras.
These 3D sensors sound similar to Google’s Tango technology, which was first commercialized in last year’s rather large Lenovo Phab 2 Pro phone. It’s still early days for Tango, but the technology’s getting better by the day. First, Asus’s Tango-enabled Zenfone AR is way smaller than the Phab 2 Pro. And second, the applications for Tango’s 3D-depth-sensing AR are getting more practical, including being used in the classroom and for trying on digital clothes (i.e. at the Gap).
Apple’s shown similar interest with its ARKit, of which IKEA will be a launch partner. The Swedish-based furniture giant is working on an AR app that’ll let customers visualize how a piece of furniture fits into their own home. With 3D sensing tech, the iPhone 8’s cameras would be potentially be able to scan a room and measure the dimensions without you needing to break out the measuring tape.