Apple could guide you around your city using augmented reality

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ARKit is one of the biggest changes in iOS 11. Under the hood, Apple is about to transform the iPhone into a very capable augmented reality device. Felix Lapalme‏ has been looking at assets in the Maps app package to find out if the company is going to leverage augmented reality for turn-by-turn directions.

On July 22nd, he dug around a beta version of iOS 11 and found this mysterious 3D arrow for the Maps app:

You might think that Apple is going to use this arrow for traditional turn-by-turn directions on top of a map like in traditional navigation apps. But some code tells you to tilt your phone in front of your face when you’re using walking directions.

In addition to that, it looks like the Maps app is going to use your phone cameras. That’s a lot of smoke for a feature that could ship with the iPhone 8. And when there’s smoke, Apple hides it:

You might remember Google’s Project Tango. Among other things, Google promised to use augmented reality to provide turn-by-turn directions inside museums, malls and more.

Apple already announced that it plans to add detailed maps of airports and malls in iOS 11. iOS 11 and the next iPhone are shipping in September. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple talked about some feature that lets you walk around an airport to find the nearest coffee shop using augmented reality. It would look like this app developed by Andrew Hart‏, a developer who has been playing around with new frameworks: