Apple has filed for a patent (number 20230040610 A1) for “object placement for electronic devices.” It involves several of the company’s hardware devices, including the rumored “RealityPro.”
About the patent filing
The patent relates generally to extended reality (ER) environments . ER technology aims to bridge a gap between virtual environments and a physical environment by providing an enhanced physical environment that is extended with electronic information.
As a result, the electronic information appears to be part of the physical environment as perceived by a user. However, Apple says it can be challenging to determine where in the physical environment to place the electronic information. The tech giant wants to overcome such limitations.
Examples of devices that could take advantage of the technology mentioned in the patent include head mountable systems (the “RealityPro”), projection-based systems, heads-up displays (HUDs), vehicle windshields having integrated display capability, windows having integrated display capability, displays formed as lenses designed to be placed on a person’s eyes (e.g., similar to contact lenses), headphones/earphones, speaker arrays, input systems (e.g., wearable or handheld controllers with or without haptic feedback), smartphones, tablets, and desktop/laptop computers.
A head mountable system (HMD) may have one or more speaker(s) and an integrated opaque display. Alternatively, a head mountable system may be configured to accept an external opaque display (e.g., a smartphone). It may incorporate one or more imaging sensors to capture images or video of the physical environment, and/or one or more microphones to capture audio of the physical environment.
Rather than an opaque display, an HMD may have a transparent or translucent display. The transparent or translucent display may have a medium through which light representative of images is directed to a person’s eyes. The display may utilize digital light projection, OLEDs, LEDs, uLEDs, liquid crystal on silicon, laser scanning light source, or any combination of these technologies.
The medium may be an optical waveguide, a hologram medium, an optical combiner, an optical reflector, or any combination thereof. In some implementations, the transparent or translucent display may be configured to become opaque selectively. Projection-based systems may employ retinal projection technology that projects graphical images onto a person’s retina. Projection systems also may be configured to project virtual objects into the physical environment, for example, as a hologram or on a physical surface.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Aspects of the subject technology provide a real-time system for positioning and/or arranging application content anchored to locations in a physical environment. The subject technology may include a placement system that facilitates placement of application content relative to the anchors, according to application and/or system preferences and/or requirements for display of the content.”
About the RealityPro
When it comes to the RealityPro, the rumors are abundant. Such a device will arrive this year. Or 2025, Or 2026. 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 Reality Pro may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that it could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.” Or perhaps “xrOS” for extended reality operating system.