iPhone 8 may include incredible augmented reality features

iPhone 8 may include incredible augmented reality features
Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The truth is we really don't need more of a reason to get excited for Apple's iPhone 8. After all, Apple's next-gen iPhone will likely feature an OLED edgeless display, ushering in the first change to the iPhone form factor since 2014's iPhone 6.

New display technologies aside, it's widely believed that the iPhone 8 will also feature facial recognition functionality, improved camera technology, improved internals and much more.

+ Also on Network World: New iPhone 8 concept photos are jaw-dropping +

That said, a new report via Bloomberg relays augmented reality (AR) may very well be one of the iPhone 8's defining features. Apple is said to have assembled an incredibly strong and diverse team with expertise across all facets of the AR user experience. What's more, Apple may eventually complement the iPhone 8 with a pair of AR-based eyeglasses, echoing a number of previous rumors we've seen over the past few months.

Apple has also recruited people with expertise in everything from 3D video production to wearable hardware. Among them, the people say: Cody White, former lead engineer of Amazon's Lumberyard virtual reality platform; Duncan McRoberts, Meta's former director of software development; Yury Petrov, a former Oculus researcher; and Avi Bar-Zeev, who worked on the HoloLens and Google Earth.

Apple has rounded out the team with iPhone, camera and optical lens engineers. There are people with experience in sourcing the raw materials for the glasses. The company has also mined the movie industry's 3D animation ranks, the people said, opening a Wellington office and luring several employees from Weta Digital, the New Zealand special effects shop that worked on King Kong, Avatar and other films.

Bolstering this report, Business Insider last month reported that Apple now has upwards of 1,000 engineers in Israel alone working on AR-related technologies.

As for how an iPhone with AR might benefit end users, some have speculated that the iPhone 8, coupled with Apple's upcoming iOS 11, will enable users to point their camera at an object and learn information about said object. Some also believe the iPhone 8 may utilize AR to enhance the gaming experience on the platform.

As a quick illustration of why AR on the iPhone is so intriguing, the following iPhone 8 concept illustrates how the technology could make it much easier to ascertain mapping directions, even in indoor environments.

iphone 8 concept 2 Gábor Balogh

While it's easy to be skeptical of fantastical iPhone rumors, it's worth noting that Apple CEO Tim Cook can't help but speak in glowing terms when asked about AR. This is rather telling given that Apple, traditionally speaking, tends to be extremely secretive when asked about new technologies the company plans to implement in the future.

As a prime example, Cook couldn't hide his excitement for AR when asked about it during an interview with the Washington Post last summer.

"I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology," he said. "So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on" behind the curtain.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10