Apple seeks to spruce up the real world with interactive augmented reality, has the patent apps to prove it

When we go somewhere new, we wish we could spend more time taking in the sights and less time looking at our phone for directions and info about our surroundings. Apple's well aware of this conundrum, and has filed a couple of patent applications to let you ogle your environment while telling you where to go and what you're seeing. One app is a method for combining augmented reality (AR) information and real time video while allowing users to interact with the images on screen -- so you can shoot a vid of a city skyline with your iPhone, touch a building where you want to go, and let it show you the way there. The second patent application is for a device with an LCD display capable of creating a transparent window, where the opacity of the screen's pixels is changed by varying the voltage levels driving them. Such a display could overlay interactive info about what you see through the window, so you can actually look at the Mona Lisa while reading up on her mysterious grin. Of course, these are just patent applications, so we probably won't be seeing any AR-optimized iDevices anytime soon (if ever), but we can dream, right?