An Apple (AAPL) patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday suggests that the company may be looking to create a navigation system based on panoramic imagery, similar to Google’s (GOOG) “Street View” technology. The “3D Position Tracking for Panoramic Imagery Navigation” patent describes a graphical user interface that utilizes the onboard sensors in the iPhone or iPad to navigate panoramic location data. Unlike the Street View technology found in Google Maps, Apple’s system will use data from the accelerometer, cameras, gyroscope and other sensors to automatically move a user through a street-level image.
The patent revealed that people may even be able to use multiple devices to expand their panoramic image. Similar to other navigation systems, Apple’s technology can show bubbles that display business information or points of interest, however it will also be able to provide additional functionality when inside a structure. The application briefly mentioned actions that could be used while inside a building, such as “selecting an object for purchase,” although additional details were not given.
Apple Maps in iOS currently does not have a street-level viewing option and many users have turned towards the Google Maps iOS app for the helpful feature. While Apple may never implement such the technology, it is clear the company is looking into it.