Apple has filed for a patent (number 20230031832 A1) for “devices, methods, and graphical user interfaces for three-dimensional preview of objects.” It hints at the ability to create and edit 3D objects on a Mac or iPad for viewing on the rumored “RealityPro” headset.
Apple is working on new software tools that will allow both developers and customers to create augmented reality apps for the rumored “RealityPro”AR/VR headset, according to a Feb. 1 report from The Information‘s Wayne Ma (a subscription is required to read the entire article).
From the report: With the software tools, Apple hopes that even people who don’t know computer code could tell the headset, via the Siri voice assistant, to build an AR app that could then be made available via Apple’s App Store for others to download. The tool, for example, could allow users to build an app with virtual animals moving around a room and over or around real-life objects without the need to design the animal from scratch and calculate its movement in a 3D space with obstacles.
If Apple succeeds, it would be a major advance in AR app development. AR apps are currently challenging to develop, and without fresh content, the new hardware could have limited appeal. While the tools are aimed partly at software developers, Apple hopes that consumers will be able to use them as well, just as its Final Cut Pro video editing tool can be used by both consumers
About the patent filing
The new patent filing involves such tools. Some computer graphical environments provide 2D and/or 3D environments where at least some objects displayed for a user’s viewing are virtual and generated by a computer. In some uses, a user may create or modify extended reality (XR) environments, such as by editing, generating, or otherwise manipulating XR virtual objects using a content generation environment, such as a graphics editor or graphics editing interface running on a content creation application, for example.
In some embodiments, creation or modification of XR environments, including content items (e.g., two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional objects) within the XR environments, may include generating and presenting, to the user, a preview of the content items at various intermediate stages of the content creation process.
However, Apple says such previews of content items that are generated and presented to the user in two-dimensions are limited by the two-dimensional display and graphics processing characteristics of the device on which the content creation application runs. The tech giant wants any editors it makes will offer intuitive editing of computer-generated virtual objects presented in 3D.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A three-dimensional preview of content can be generated and presented at an electronic device in a three-dimensional environment. The three-dimensional preview of content can be presented concurrently with a two-dimensional representation of the content in a content generation environment presented in the three-dimensional environment. While the three-dimensional preview of content is presented in the three-dimensional environment, one or more affordances can be provided for interacting with the one or more computer-generated virtual objects of the three-dimensional preview.
“The one or more affordances may be displayed with the three-dimensional preview of content in the three-dimensional environment. The three-dimensional preview of content may be presented on a three-dimensional tray and the one or more affordances may be presented in a control bar or other grouping of controls outside the perimeter of the tray and/or along the perimeter of the tray.”