iPhone 8 could enable augmented reality features via a next-generation FaceTime camera outfitted with a bespoke PrimeSense chip for depth sensing, 3D scanning, advanced facial recognition and more.

The upcoming Apple flagship may also introduce enhanced Siri capabilities that may or may not benefit from built-in augmented reality support.

Designer Gábor Balogh has created some gorgeous mockups imagining an augmented reality Siri on an edge-to-edge iPhone.

The idea for the concept was born after Balogh studied recent Apple acquisitions concerning face and emotion recognition, connecting the real world with digital content, plus big data and machine learning.

“Any of them separately would create a better iOS, but what if they were merged into one big something? Let say, into Siri?,” he pondered. “If the rumors are true, more powerful hardware is on the way which supports augmented reality smoothly in 4K resolution. Do you get the idea?”

iPhone 8 is thought to introduce a function area that would occupy the space currently reserved for the bottom chin where the Home button and the Touch ID sensor are currently found. As a next-generation Home button and a redesigned fingerprint sensor are expected to be embedded directly into iPhone 8’s display, the phone’s bottom chin could be ditched altogether to make way for the aforesaid function area.

Balogh doesn’t think the function area should adopt Touch Bar-like functionality. That’s why he’s betting on a persistent button in the function area that would act as a shortcut to an enhanced Siri feature with augmented reality support.

He explained:

The real world is not hidden by the device anymore. If raised, the environment is visible in the background of the home screen in a semi-transparent way, indicating that you can unveil it by pressing the digital Home button. Same way as now, but Siri would be present in augmented reality.

That would make sense were it not for the rumor-mill, which predicted that the Cupertino firm would build augmented reality technology into the stock Camera and Maps apps.

Regardless, Siri would see the world around you through iPhone’s lenses, recognize objects, know where you are, what your activity is and what you probably need in any given moment. The icons next to a Siri button in the function area at the bottom represent Siri-suggested widgets relevant to a given situation.

You’d ask a question such as “What’s that tower?” and get a handy Maps card. Keep on with the conversation and ask a follow-up question like “Guide me there” and Siri brings up an augmented reality directions feature. “It is a lot easier to follow the directions and the digital path if it is projected on the environment,” he writes.

Another cool capability he’s envisioned would let Siri tap into not just your own Health data but use the power of iCloud to understand health stats of your loved ones, too. In that case, you could ask Siri something along the lines of “How is Sandra?”

And just like that, up pops Sandra’s health card with stats like heart rates and other data. “Obviously, sharing those data is synced among iCloud Family, so those who have older iPhones could also enjoy this experience,” he said.

Needless to say, we’re very excited about iPhone 8’s augmented reality features.


iPhone 7, at left, and Balogh’s iPhone 8 concept, at right.

Its edge-to-edge screen, based on the superior active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) technology, should be great for iOS 11’s presumed Dark Mode, with a function area at the bottom potentially replacing Home/Touch ID button and containing shortcuts to common features that could change from one app to another.

Do you like Balogh’s ideas for the next iPhone with an augmented reality Siri?

Source: Gábor Balogh