Apple wins a Patent for possible Future online AR Guided Consumer presentations with Apple Specialists
Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to techniques for providing an interactive, guided consumer experience via AR for the iPhone, iPad, Macs and Apple Vision Pro.
Guided Consumer Experience
Apple's granted patent describes techniques for enhancing a consumer experience, including online retail and customer support experiences. Online shopping can lack the instantaneous feedback, answers to questions, suggestions, and human connection of an in-person shopping experience. Current online consumer applications require a user to browse through menus or perform a search function to locate a product of interest.
The techniques described in Apple's granted patent provide for real-time communication with a remote salesperson (via an audio and/or video electronic communication session) who can demonstrate products on the user's device. This allows a consumer to have an interactive conversation with the salesperson, who can provide relevant products and make suggestions based on the conversation.
A salesperson can cause a product to be displayed on the user's device via the electronic communication session, and the user can manipulate the product to see various portions and features. The salesperson can also manipulate the product to point out features of the product without user input. This provides a guided, remote shopping experience that allows a salesperson to lead a user through a shopping experience, from product selection to purchase, without requiring manual input by the user, but with the flexibility to allow a user to select and interact with products as desired.
Another feature described in today's granted patent is the ability to incorporate interactive, computer-generated reality capabilities into the consumer experience. For example, during a communication session with a remote user (e.g., a salesperson), a consumer can activate a camera to capture an image of the consumer's environment, and then a view of an environment (e.g., a computer-generated reality (CGR) environment) is generated to show what a product would look like in the consumer's current environment.
While the view of the environment is displayed on the consumer's device, the salesperson can add products to the environment, replace currently displayed products with different products, and demonstrate products and features in the computer-generated reality environment. This allows the salesperson to continue to guide the consumer through the shopping experience in computer-generated reality.
In addition to shopping, the features can also be used to enhance product support. For example, an owner of a laptop computer can initiate a communication session with a product support specialist. A virtual representation of the laptop can be displayed on the device the owner is using to communicate (e.g., a smartphone). The owner can manipulate the virtual representation to explain issues with the laptop, and the product support specialist can manipulate the virtual representation displayed on the owner's communication device to guide the owner through the troubleshooting session to address the issues.
According to some embodiments, product information comprising an image of a product is displayed, and a communication session with a salesperson of the product is provided. While providing the communication session, the display of product information is adjusted using information received from the communication session. A representation of the product is displayed by: capturing an image using a camera, generating a view of an environment by compositing a virtual object representing the product and the captured image, and displaying the view of the environment.
In the patent FIGS. Below you can see a user interfacing for a guided consumer experience with an Apple Specialist.
Further, Apple also filed for a patent for a device to assist Apple Specialists give online customers a presentation with. Apple's patent application #20210097892 titled "Remote-Demonstration Unit and System," which was published in 2021. We covered this patent in April 2021.
While a lot of work is going into this project, it's unknown when such a system could make its way to market.
So as to not overwhelm the system, I'm sure that sessions booked online for an AR Genius Bar will come at a cost. But for those out of town or those that are too busy to go to a distant Apple store, the service fee won't likely be an issue for most.