The iPad Pro And iPhone 12 Pro Hint At The Future Of AR
Over at The Register you can read some thoughts on why recent mobile devices from Apple, which suggests it might not just be there because it is now relatively affordable and undeniably cool. As it turns out LIDAR is incredibly useful for AR, as it allows the phone to map out your surroundings with proper distances and depths. The other cameras do well for colours but they lack the resolution to properly render your surroundings in AR.
Samsung tried this for a bit, but abandoned it as the rest of the technology was just not ready. That has changed as new generations of mobile processors have improved performance enough to actually be able to start to do something with the data provided by a LIDAR camera. This would offload some of the work that the AR glasses Apple has been threatening to release for several years would need to do to map your surroundings. That could make the glasses much lighter, or perhaps the iPhone wouldn’t be necessary but instead be used in tandem with those glasses for increased resolution.
It’s all rumours for now; there is plenty of discussion about what Apple’s AR glasses might be like but for no we have no solid facts.
In the earliest days of virtual reality, thirty years ago, the biggest barrier to entry was compute capacity necessary to render real-time three-dimensional graphics. Back in 1992, systems capable of real-time 3D looked like supercomputers and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.