Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no secret lately of considering AR rather than VR the next big thing in mass-oriented immersive technology, although it remains unclear when and how the Cupertino-based giant might choose to join the fledgling industry.

One strong possibility is a Carl Zeiss partnership on some sort of Microsoft HoloLens-contending smartglasses launching later this year, while many analysts and insiders have (vaguely) talked about mysterious augmented reality functionality baked into the oft-rumored next-gen iPhones. Or, you know, at least one of them.

With all of the details still up in the air, but plenty of time left to figure them out, “industry sources” are today quoted in a UBS research note claiming over 1,000 engineers “may” be working on an Apple project in Israel that “could be related to AR.”

According to the financial services firm’s managing director, Steven Milunovich, said project may first materialize in features like “moderate 3D mapping… and possibly an AR software development kit” for the 2017 iPhone 8. Think something along the lines of the Google Tango-powered Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, with Apple’s typically proficient iOS optimizations making the most of the user experience, and probably, a much larger marketing budget.

In the long run, more “profound” augmented reality enhancements should come to iPhones and other iProducts, as Cook expects the “core technology” to be just as big and popular as iPhones themselves… eventually.

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