It wasn’t expected to happen until Apple released the iPhone OS 3.1 firmware update, but it seems at least one iPhone app developer has managed to push through an app-update that enables augmented reality on the iPhone. We’ve seen plenty of AR apps being demonstrated on the iPhone in the past, but they have yet to make it to the AppStore. With the exception of the Metro Paris Subway iPhone app. According to the NYT Metro Paris Subway is the first iPhone app to bring augmented reality to the iPhone!
What is augmented reality? AR is kind of like your information window to the real world. It works by overlaying an information layer on top of a live camera view of the world. By combining data from GPS and digital compass hardware, augmented reality apps can determine your geo-location and the direction that you’re facing. With that data, apps can overlay all sorts of useful tags right onto real-world objects (subway stations, constellations, Twitter users, etc.).
Metro Paris Subway was recently endowed with AR features, thanks to a recent update through the AppStore. It’s not clear why Apple let this particular AR feature into the AppStore while presumably keeping others on ice until iPhone OS 3.1 is released (which we’re hearing will happen around Labor Day). But, with the ability to pin-point subway stations and nearby businesses (like Pizza Hut, Starbucks, KFC, Best Western and, funny enough, Subway) through the iPhone 3GS’s camera viewfinder, we’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
The video shows you what you can do with Metro Paris Subway on the iPhone 3GS. The video is in French, and you’ll obviously have to be in Paris to put this app to good use.
Metro Paris Subway $0.99 (iTunes link)