avatarby John CallahamMarch 2, 20170 comments

Will we see augmented reality technology inside the iPhone 8? If a new report is accurate, that might just be the case. Steven Milunovich, an analyst at the financial research group UBS, claims that, according to his sources, Apple could have as many as 1,000 workers in Israel that are helping to develop AR-based projects for the company.

Milunovich’s statement, as reported by TechRadar, is not really much of a surprise. Apple has already acquired a number of small companies that were reportedly working on AR projects. Even more telling are recent statements from Apple CEO Tim Cook. In an interview in February, Cook said he was more excited about the future prospects of augmented reality, instead of the current virtual reality trend that other companies are focused on.

In addition, recent rumors about the iPhone 8 claim that the upcoming phone will include a depth-sensing front-facing camera. Such a feature would be perfect for an augmented reality app. Google has already been developing its own 3D camera with its Tango AR technology. So far, the only smartphone to use that hardware tech is the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, but other Android phones are expected to be released in 2017 that will also use Tango-based hardware and software.

If Apple does go all in with AR tech for the iPhone 8, it could cause more smartphone makers to ram up their AR plans as well, perhaps by using Google’s already established Tango platform. The key factor is how AR hardware is actually used in applications. As we have seen many times before, a smartphone or tablet can have a cool hardware feature that ends up not being used because there are not enough practical applications for it.

Would you want to get an iPhone 8 with some kind of AR hardware and software? Let us know what you plan to do in the comments!