While their rivals are producing more and more elaborate plans for ‘augmented reality’ products, Apple for once have released something a little more modest, with the American company hosting a new app that aims to provide a second-screen option to a more scaled-back form of media.
New app Meanings, developed by Jinahadam, is an ‘augmented reality dictionary’, and works by scanning the world through the iPhone’s camera, reading a word by its letters if focused on, then providing an instant ‘word definition’ (either through the iOS operating system’s online dictionary, or online via Google or Wikipedia’s ‘Wiktionary’) as soon as the word is deciphered.
The app is claimed to be able to read any word via its ‘image-processing OCR technology’, the same format carried by PDF file-reading software.
The iTunes listing for Meanings describes the 99¢ (69p) service as follows: “This app allows you to define words by tapping on the word via a video stream, it works on books, or any other printed text document. It uses this pseudo Augmented reality technique, saving you the trouble of typing the word into a conventional dictionary.”
While not anywhere near as impressive as what Google are likely to offer by the end of this year (probably including some sort of ‘dictionary scanning’ option), will Apple’s basic augmented reality set make any impact on the written word? It has the potential to be quite powerful, as for example, if you are reading this through Meanings, then by now you would have worked out the meaning of meanings…