What does the iPhone 7 reveal about Apple’s AR plans?

IDG.TV | Sep 27, 2016

The iPhone 7 Plus has dual-cameras to help take better photos. But this technology could also play a vital role in Apple’s future plans for AR.

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Not impressed with the iPhone 7? Well, Apple’s latest phone is way more than meets the eye… especially when it comes to augmented reality.

Perhaps the best new additions to the iPhone 7 Plus are the dual-cameras: a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens that gives you 2 times the optical zoom for photos that aren’t as grainy. Even in low-lit settings, kind of like a DSLR.


But taking better photos inside a bar isn’t the only thing these dual-cameras were designed for. The two sensors can actually work in tandem to create a depth map of the objects in an image and make real-time calculations to figure out the exact dimensions. Just think of it as the iPhone now having depth perception.


This technology helps the iPhone 7 Plus distinguish between the photo’s main objects and the background. So you’ll be able to create cinemagraphs or bokeh in a forthcoming iOS update. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once your phone can detect single objects in the real world and create an accurate 3D map around them, it’s easier to overlay an augmented reality component that fits perfectly and stays over the object even as it moves.


The future possibilities of this technology are seemingly endless. You might be able to point your iPhone towards an object to get more information like we’ve seen with Google’s Project Tango. Or you can make sure that new furniture fits inside your apartment before going to IKEA. Or make it easier to talk to your friends on Facetime looking like a total dog.


Needless to say, an iPhone with built-in AR capabilities will take mobile games like Pokemon Go into another dimension. Literally. Good luck catching that Pikachu when it starts running down the street and hides behind a car.


Although the iPhone 7 Plus marks Apple’s first move into augmented reality, it’s only the beginning. Future iPhones will have to be suited up with more cameras in order for a hyper-reality to become mainstream. For example, Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro, the first smartphone equipped with Google’s Project Tango, has 3 cameras working in tandem. Meanwhile Microsoft’s HoloLens has five cameras and it will cost you about $3000. No one said that entering another reality was going to come cheap.