Apple is ramping up its plans to pursue augmented reality, according to a new Bloomberg report, which provides some detail on how the company may incorporate the technology into the iPhone.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is said to be exploring features that would allow iPhone owners to change the depth of photographs taken with the phone’s camera after they’ve been captured. Another potential implementation would let users isolate a specific object in an image, such as a person’s head, and tilt it 180 degrees, the report says. Apple is also developing a feature that would make it possible to overlay virtual effects and objects onto a photo, similar to Snapchat.
The report cautions that Apple may not roll out these features, but that the company has iPhone camera engineers working on them. Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras, one specifically tailored for better zooming, which allows the phone to shoot images that sharpen a subject against a slightly blurred background.
Apple has reportedly assembled a team of experts specializing in augmented reality technology, camera sensors, 3D video production, and wearable tech hardware. This group reportedly includes Mike Rockwell, who previously ran the hardware and new technologies team at Dolby, as well as Cody White, who was formerly a lead engineer for Amazon’s Lumberyard VR platform. Last year, The Financial Times also reported that Apple was building a secret team dedicated to developing virtual and augmented reality products.
The iPhone maker is also said to be working on a pair of augmented reality glasses, as Bloomberg previously reported. This new headset combined with the upcoming iPhone camera features could put Apple in direct competition with Snap Inc., which released its first pair of glasses in September.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that augmented reality is an area of interest for the company, although he hasn’t discussed plans for future products. “I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology,” Cook told The Washington Post in August. “So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain we talked about.”