Yesterday, we looked at Paris Metro, supposedly the first augmented reality app officially available for the iPhone. Today, Robert Scoble uncovered an Easter egg that looks like it may grant that title to Yelp, which got a version update earlier this week that carried a nice surprise: an AR mode dubbed “Monocle.”
Yelp is one of the App Store’s early successes. It offers crowdsourced locations and reviews of restaurants, bars, and other points of interests for tourists and leisure seekers. As such, it’s the perfect app for AR, which in this case consists of location names and ratings overlaid on a live feed from your iPhone’s (3GS only) camera.
Since it’s an Easter egg and not an advertised feature, activating Monocle mode requires an extra step beyond just downloading and opening the free app. Specifically, you have to shake your 3GS three times in succession with the app open. Mine worked on the first try, but I’m sure just shaking it until it works will open up the option eventually.
In my extremely brief, extremely office-based test, the app appears to work perfectly, so long as my sense of direction isn’t terribly off. As you can see from my screenshot, many culinary delights lie in the general direction of my iMac. I’ll be doing some more involved tests later this evening to see what kind of effect Monocle mode has on my battery life, but I can’t imagine it’s very energy efficient.
It’s unclear whether or not Apple was aware of this feature when it let this update through, so grab it now while you still can. If it gets pulled, let us know so we can be collectively indignant.