Apple to Integrate Augmented Reality Functionality Into iPhone's Camera App

Apple has a team of people working on integrating augmented reality functionality into the iPhone's camera app, reports Business Insider. Employees from several different augmented reality companies Apple has acquired are said to be involved in the effort, including those from Metaio and Flyby Media.

Citing sources familiar with Apple's plans, Business Insider says Apple's goal is for consumers to be able point the phone at a real-world object and have that object be recognized. Apple is already working on similar technology using machine learning techniques and has built basic object recognition capabilities into the Photos app.


Object recognition in the camera app would potentially allow for the real-time recognition of objects, but it is more complex than what is available in the Photos app because it involves 3D objects. Such a feature could be used for spacial recognition and mapping, among other things.

Facial recognition and manipulation may also be a goal, perhaps allowing the camera app to be used to apply Snapchat-style augmented reality filters to people. Apple is said to be planning to release an augmented reality SDK for developers following the debut of the rumored camera feature, which would allow third-party apps access the AR camera technology too.

Another early feature for Apple's AR integration into the camera app could be to recognize and manipulate people's faces. Apple integrated facial recognition technology into the photos app in the most recent version of its iOS software, and purchased FaceShift, a company with similar technology in 2015.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple's ultimate augmented reality ambition may be a set of smart glasses, which would connect wirelessly to the iPhone and display "images and other information" to the wearer.

A recent hire, John Border, seems to confirm Apple's rumored interest in smart glasses. Border, who describes himself as a "subject matter expert" in head-worn displays, plastic optics manufacturing, and camera systems and image sensors, recently joined Apple after serving as the chief engineer at Osterhout Design Group, a company that developed a set of smart glasses.

Apple's work on smart glasses is said to be in the early stages, and no product is expected to debut before 2018 should the project continue. It is not clear when Apple might introduce AR functionality in the camera app.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

Zirel Avatar
53 months ago


VR. It's the future! Guys!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
53 months ago
I propose Apple create a feature whereby you aim your camera at a new MacBook and nearby device, and the app overlays all the dongles and adaptors you'd need to connect the two devices. You could even buy them right from the camera app!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ErikGrim Avatar
53 months ago
While object recognition would be of limited use to most users, imagine what it could do for the vision impaired? A set of smart glasses that translated what they were seeing into sound with Voice Over would be a game changer. Kind of like how VO can identify faces in the camera app already, but for a whole library of every day objects. The blind would literally be able to see and navigate the world by sound.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FatherJack1980 Avatar
53 months ago
"[facial] manipulation may also be a goal, perhaps allowing the camera app to be used to apply Snapchat-style augmented reality filters to people."

Oh goody, yet another social media thingy! Man, can't wait to emoji-fy my face!! *sigh*

....I can just imagine the presentation for this in the next Apple event.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
62tele Avatar
53 months ago
The skeptic in me says that this is just the next piece of feces that Apple is throwing against the wall to see if it sticks. The Watch was not the next iPod. The car went down a dead end.
I hope this doesn't distract them from the next revolutionary breakthrough in emoji development.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
53 months ago

"[facial] manipulation may also be a goal, perhaps allowing the camera app to be used to apply Snapchat-style augmented reality filters to people."

Oh goody, yet another Snapchat thingy! Man, can't wait to emoji-fy my face!! *sigh*

....I can just imagine the presentation for this in the next Apple event :oops:

Seems like it would be a fun addition to FaceTime.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Thanksgiving Day Deals Still Available on AirPods, M1 Macs, Apple Watch Series 6, iPads

Thursday November 26, 2020 10:21 am PST by
Black Friday deals seem to start earlier and earlier every year, so there were already a wide variety of discounts available for Apple products on Thanksgiving Day. Many of the deals remain available even after Thanksgiving, but act fast, as inventory quickly fluctuates. Thanksgiving Day Deals on Apple Products — Still Available:AirPods with a wireless charging case remain available for...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
iPad Pro 5G and Mini LED feature

Rumored 2021 High-End iPad Pro May Feature 5G With mmWave Support

Thursday November 26, 2020 2:14 am PST by
Apple's rumored high-end iPad Pro models to be released next year will be 5G-enabled with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes. Multiple rumors have suggested Apple is planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display next year, with the possibility that there will be an 11-inch mini-LED model too, but details beyond that have...