Apple reportedly working on bringing AR features to the iPhone using ex-Microsoft HoloLens talent

We have known for a while that Apple is working on AR (Augmented Reality) headsets, with the company’s CEO claiming that AR is going to be “huge.” And now, it seems like we might see an augmented reality product from the hardware giant sometime soon.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on integrating some AR features into the iPhone’s camera. Apple actually built a team for its AR ambitions, and “hundreds of engineers” are reportedly working on bringing the tech to life. What’s more interesting is that the team reportedly includes multiple engineers who worked on the Microsoft HoloLens. Engineers who worked on Facebook’s Oculus Rift are also part of the team, according to Bloomberg:

“Apple has built a team combining the strengths of its hardware and software veterans with the expertise of talented outsiders, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal strategy. Run by a former Dolby Laboratories executive, the group includes engineers who worked on the Oculus and HoloLens virtual reality headsets sold by Facebook and Microsoft as well as digital-effects wizards from Hollywood. Apple has also acquired several small firms with knowledge of AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software.”

Apple has also acquired multiple firms who specialize in AR technologies in the past to work on Apple’s upcoming AR products. It’s clear Apple’s AR team is full of bright minds from the industry, and Microsoft’s HoloLens engineers might also help the company’s AR ambitions quite a lot since Microsoft already has an AR headset available for purchase to the public.

How Apple will execute its AR plans remains to be seen as it isn’t clear how the company is working on integrating AR features into the iPhone yet. Bloomberg claims that the iPhone’s camera team are working on incorporating the “AR-related” features to the iPhone. The company is apparently working on a feature that would let users place virtual effects and objects in the real world — similar to how Pokemon Go and other apps like Snapchat work.

Another feature the iPhone camera team is working on is the ability to change the depth of photographs taken with the iPhone, as well as the depth of specific objects in a picture. The report explains:

“One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person’s head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees.”

At the moment, it isn’t clear whether we will get to see some of these AR features on the next iPhone, which is set to arrive sometime in September. Apple’s AR headsets should be a lot more interesting, but we likely won’t get to see them anytime soon. Microsoft, on the other hand, reportedly skipped HoloLens v2 and the software giant is now working on a v3 of its popular AR headset — but that won’t arrive until 2019.

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