If Apple’s legion of fanboys aren’t playing around with the newest iPhone, they’re scouring the rumor blogs searching for hints at what the tech giant has planned for the next generation. The gossip is predictably heating up, although the whispers include some potentially revolutionary details.
According to Financial Times, Apple has officially acquired Flyby Media, an augmented reality startup working on an engine that allows devices to scan real-world landscapes to recognize familiar objects. Flyby might be best known for working with Google several years ago on Project Tango, its image recognition experiment. While Flyby focused more on the P2P messaging capabilities of the software, TechCrunch speculated that there could be a juicier side to the story — namely, a new iPhone with image recognition capabilities.
That’s not the only area where experts expect the next iPhone to stretch the limits of what smartphones are thought to be capable of. Tim Culpan, Bloomberg’s Taiwan correspondent, reported that Apple has been quietly forming a network of manufacturing and software development partners in Asia that it could leverage to produce efficient and safe wireless charging for the next iPhone. The technology already exists to an extent, and Apple employs it with contactless charging on the Apple Watch. However, the devices have to be within millimeters of a power source. Culpan’s sources, on the other hand, tell him that Apple is shooting higher.
“The idea of putting a phone on a charging matter isn’t that convenient; it’s not really a game-changer,” Culpan said on Bloomberg TV. “So, what Apple is hoping for is to be able to charge at a further distance.”
Rumors had been swirling for weeks that Apple was planning something big after its latest iPhone offering saw lackluster sales, but if it manages to pull off both image recognition and wireless charging, this may be one iPhone that can’t be hyped enough.