You may have wondered why it's taking so long for the augmented reality application Nearest Tube to hit the App Store. This time the delay isn't really due to an Apple approval issue, it's just the small fact that the developers of augmented reality apps are using unpublished APIs (application programming interfaces).
That's right, Apple hasn't even released these development tools yet. The good news is that intrepid developers are soon to be vindicated by iPhone OS 3.1, which promises to include many new APIs that make augmented reality applications possible.
Nearest Tube, for example, which will come in versions for several North American cities, allows the iPhone 3GS user to point their camera in the direction of the nearest subway stop. Overlaid on live video will be directions and station information, much like a heads-up-display. This functionality is made possible by the iPhone 3GS camera, GPS and digital compass working together in real-time.
Nearest Tube already works for iPhone OS 3.0, however Apple will approve the app after 3.1 hits the streets. The developers of Nearest Tube, acrossair, are expecting iPhone OS 3.1 to be released in early September, somewhat later than some other reports have predicted.What else is in store for iPhone 3GS owners with the release of firmware 3.1?