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Much like Samsung seems to be wagering on a “fundamentally different” voice agent and “new intelligent interface” for the long haul, Apple is reportedly looking to “lay the foundation of the next computing paradigm” by investing a lot of time, resources and enthusiasm in augmented reality.

Basically billed as the Cupertino company’s next big thing by former analyst superstar and current venture capital firm managing partner Gene Munster, the technology in Tim Cook’s sights is finally detailed by “people with knowledge of the plans” talking to Bloomberg. Well, as much as something that’s still relatively early in development can be detailed.

For instance, a 2017 release of jointly-made Apple/Carl Zeiss smartglasses is starting to feel like a pipe dream, as AR features are expected to show up in the iPhone 8 (or 10, or X, or whatever) first, with said digital spectacles still “a ways off.”

When the glasses will be ready for primetime, they’ll probably continue to rely heavily on tethered iPhones, like the Apple Watch, so it’s pivotal to get the handset’s AR functionality right. Eventually, but also in the short term, as Apple needs to quickly convince its fanbase this is something innovative and practical.

To pull that off, the iPhone 8 may support the ability to “take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later”, as well as isolation of an object in the image, “such as a person’s head, allowing it to be tilted 180 degrees.” Another app being considered is essentially a Snapchat clone, placing “virtual effects and objects on a person”, with depth sensing and “algorithms created by PrimeSense, an Israeli company acquired in 2013” enhancing the phone’s new camera.

Needless to say, Apple assembled a dream team of engineers and developers devoted to the AR cause, led by an ex-Dolby Laboratories executive, with many Oculus, HoloLens, Amazon and even Hollywood veterans recruited to help revolutionize the tech world once more.

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