Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,916,220) for “detection and display of mixed 2D/3D content” that shows the company wants its various devices to be able to work together to to display 3D content as it works on various augmented reality/virtual reality features and products.
In the patent, the tech giant notes that electronic devices have different capabilities with respect to viewing and interacting with electronic content. For example, Mac desktops and laptops utilize single flat screen displays that are generally well suited for viewing 2D content, while the devices are resting in fixed positions on desks and other flat surfaces. Traditional webpages include 2D content that’s easily viewed on such devices.
However, Apple says that such devices have limitations with respect to viewing 3D content. In contrast, mobile devices, head-mounted devices (HMDs) such as the rumored “Apple Glasses,” and other such devices often have attributes and features that can make them better suited for viewing 3D content. For example, 3D content (e.g., virtual objects) can be viewed on a mobile phone and the orientation/position of the mobile phone can be used to change the view of the 3D content.
As the user walks around and tilts the phone, he or she can view the 3D content from different relative positions and angles. As another example, some devices, such as HMDs, include multiple screens that provide the ability for stereoscopic rendering of 3D content. This can allow a user to better perceive depth when viewing 3D content.
However, Apple says that current techniques and systems do not adequately facilitate the distribution, viewing, and sharing of 2D and 3D content “to enable the effective and intuitive use of the differing capabilities of these electronic devices.” One idea: having “Apple Glasses” working with Macs, iPhones, and iPads to display 3D content.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “Various implementations disclosed herein include devices, systems, and methods that enable a first device to obtain two-dimensional (2D) content referenced by a webpage and a second device in communication with the first device to display 3D content referenced by the webpage.
“In an example, it is detected that the webpage references 3D content associated with 2D content and detected that a second device, capable of displaying the 3D content referenced by the webpage, is linked to or in communication with the first device. In one example, the second device receives input corresponding to a user selection to view the 3D content, and in response, displays an 3D environment including the 3D content.”
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive this year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks Apple will at least preview it before the end of the year.
It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be eventually be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”