Apple is big news these days. Just last week the company announced the takeover of Akonia, a startup renowned for its AR lenses expertise. Another indicator has now surfaced that Apple’s focus on Augmented Reality is in fact gaining traction. Namely, the hiring data show a growing trend in hiring AR experts, not the least those focusing on AR maps development.
These is a slight bit of paradox in the AR industry. For all the information on the emerging technology that’s out there, we cannot help but speculate some more. Each new confirmation breeds a network of possibilities and conjectures. As for Apple, digging a little inside their hiring data reveals that they are looking left right and center for the best of what AR-related human resources have to offer. Apple is, seems that way, making moves towards realizing the AR ambition put forward not long ago.
Though job postings show an increase in Augmented Reality positions, it is difficult to predict the specific turn Apple is taking. But there’s nothing like trying. The job listings from August 10 to August 22 portray the need for different engineers and technical artists. The one thing they may have in common is perhaps the development of future Apple AR maps. The reason this is not just a fanciful conjecture is seen from a similar hiring datum from July this year. In a July Apple Maps product architect job listing, Apple didn’t shy away from relating maps to Augmented Reality.
‘Digital maps have become essential tools of everyday lives’, the job description reads, before admitting that these maps ‘are still in their infancy’. ‘From urban mobility to indoor positioning’, it goes on to say, ’ from LIDAR to Augmented Reality, advances in technology and new kinds of data are powering innovations in all areas of digital mapping’. In light of the recent revamping of Apple maps for iOS 12, it is speculatively sound to assume that Apple has taken direction towards developing AR maps.
If all this is not enough, yet another listing surfaces in support of the claim. In June Apple was looking for an iOS/MacOS Engineer who had ‘familiarity with maps’ and’ Augmented Reality APIs’. The steady flow of AR-related job positions seems in favor that something is cooking in the Apple furnace.
AR maps may well be the central focus of iOS 12 features. Still, the system’s 11th expression has a few hidden AR treasures inside. Not exactly defined as Augmented Reality, Walkthrough 3D comes strikingly close to what we would like to see from a future Apple map app.
‘If you love maps and are passionate about what is possible, you will be in great company’. Indeed, Apple is trying to push the boundaries of possible, while also treading softly. Apple Maps may have not taken the world by storm, but a steady stream of improvements have made them appealing. It is now time to step up. Similar to the potential Apple glasses, AR maps may well be under way. Evidence, or at least what we have of it, is pointing in that direction.