Patent application shows Apple looking to advance iOS ‘Maps + Compass’ with augmented reality

“On August 18, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple’s ‘Map + Compass’ iOS feature,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“In the future, you’ll be able to capture an intersection on your iPhone’s camera and do a search based on that image,” Purcher reports. “If you’re looking for the Golden Gate Bridge while visiting San Francisco, Apple’s Maps + Compass feature will be able to superimpose the directions from your current location to where you want to go. It will include turn by turn instructions according to Apple’s documentation.”

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Purcher reports, “Apple’s hire of founder and CEO of PlaceBase, an advanced digital mapping firm, illustrates just how eager they are in advancing Maps + Compass for iOS devices with augmented reality. In fact, in typical Apple fashion, their new augmented application features will go far beyond just software. Apple has clearly indicated that they’re developing a new interactive augmented reality 3D display that is considered to be a smart transparent display.”

Much more, including patent application illustrations, in the full article here.


  1. I didn’t think much of AR in the past, but Apple’s rash of patents do refelect a trend that I’m warming up to. It’s like that for anything relatively new. I didn’t think much of the first iPod. It comes down to how useful the apps turn out to be for AR. Turn by turn is something that could kick start this feature, at least for me.

    1. I actually thought “a lot” of the first iPod. I was telling people that this little device will be a full fledged computer in no time. It took ten years, but what a great ride.

  2. Maps is next to useless.

    It too frequently tells me to drive through a park or turn into the oncoming traffic of a one way street or take a run through a shopping centre car park and almost always finds a bizarre winding route between A and B. There’s no option to calculate a new route and I can’t trust the one and only route it dreams up.

    1. This is about a next generation of map, so your commentary, though valid, doesn’t relate to what could be coming. Eventually Apple’s maps and compass will get it right. I’ve seen this type of software in cabs and it works great. Apple has the money and engineers to get the job done, eventually.

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