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Apple could be creating an augmented reality mapping app for future versions of the iPhone, if a patent application from the company that was just approved comes to fruition. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has given its thumbs-up to patent No. 9,488,488. Apple first applied for this patent in 2011, so it has been working on this technology well before VR and AR became the latest trend for mobile devices.

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The patent describes how AR mapping info could be placed in a video taken with the iPhone’s rear camera of the surrounding environment. Users might be able to get directions from the AR info placed on the screen, along with names of places like restaurants, public buildings and other locations. The patent also says that the app could switch views on screen from live video to a birds-eye map view of the local neighborhood.

Keep in mind that getting a patent approved does not necessarily mean Apple is indeed actively working on such an AR mapping app for the iPhone. However, company CEO Tim Cook has stated recently Apple is interested in that kind of technology, so it would not be a huge surprise if the company decides to add this in a future version of iOS and the iPhone.

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