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Apple is in ur life, augmentin' ur realities! Well, not yet, but Patently Apple has discovered some evidence that suggests that the Cupertino-based company may want to head in that direction--and make plenty of dough doing it.
According to sources, Apple has been tinkering with NFC (Near Field Communications) for quite some time now.
NFC is the technology that allows for two signal pieces of equipment--for example, an iPhone and an RFID card--to exchange information over short distances. Patently Apple speculates that Apple will be releasing NFC-enabled iPhones capable of interacting with other NFC-enabled equipment sometime next year.
Now, what does this have to do with Augmented Reality? According to the folks over at 9to5Mac, quite a bit. The release of a patent for a "Products" app could very well be the force that pulls together Apple's years-long research into NFC technology, the company's iAd platform and the world around you. Think of it: you're walking down the street and you pass by a clothing store. You decide to stop in and browse. Each piece of clothing that you pick up has an RFID tag attached to it, which feeds information to your NFC-enabled iPhone. With the information gleaned from your browsing, Apple and the company's partners now have what they want. Since they know that you're browsing that particular clothing store, they could offer you a coupon for that store via SMS or email. Then, the next time you launch an app, iAds might opt to fire a few advertisements for clothing at you, seeing as how you had already shown interest in shopping for some new threads.
Yep, that should be worth some coin.
There could also be some other fringe benefits to having an NFC-enabled Apple product. For example, you could wave your mobile device near a piece of equipment that has an RFID tag on it and in doing so, the operating instructions for the equipment would appear on your screen. Even cooler: you see an poster for a concert taking place at a venue across town. If the poster is NFC-enabled, you could swipe your phone past it and have a dialouge open up to purchase tickets or get the driving directions. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, your Apple device would be able to provide more information on the world around you by simply being there with you. That's augmented reality, friends.
Not too shabby at all.