Currently the only solution for iPhone users to experience virtual reality is with the Google Cardboard and even then it’s relatively limited when it comes to content. However, that could all change as it seems Apple may be looking to get into the VR world by creating their own headset.
According to a new analysis into Apple’s movements, it seems that the iPhone 7 announcement may be accompanied by an Apple VR product.
The first hint of Apple’s interest in VR was revealed on Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call in January 2016. On the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked a question regarding VR; he answered: “In terms of VR, I don’t think it’s a niche. It’s really cool and has some interesting applications.” While that doesn’t exactly confirm Apple plans, analysts suggest that’s as good as we’ll get as far as confirming a product is in the pipeline. Apple has also posted a number of jobs advertising for engineers experienced in 3D Graphics, virtual reality, and augmented reality, specifically asking for developers to build “high-performance apps that integrate with Virtual Reality systems for prototyping and user testing”.
Apple then secured the services of Nick Thompson from Microsoft who was an engineer that worked on the HoloLens and also Bennett Willburn who ocused on “machine learning technology for human activity recognition”. The acquisitons didn’t stop at employees; Apple purchased PrimeSense back in 2013 who were responsible for the original Xbox Kinect development for $345 million. In 2015, Apple acquired Metaio, a company well-known for its augmented reality work powering many AR apps, including Ikea and Ferrari. Finally, Apple acquired Flyby Media, a company that produced technology to allow smartphones to visualise the world around them.
Apple, through their acquisitions, seem to have put the puzzle pieces together and placed themselves in the perfect spot to produce VR hardware. Patent filings dating back to 2013 suggest a head-mounted display is being considered by the company .The Patent (USPTO 8,605,008) describes a “A goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user is provided. The goggle system may include an outer cover, a mid-frame, optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user.”
It could well be that we’ll see a VR headset alongside an iPhone 7 release, with iOS undergoing a major overhaul to accompany both new products.
Let us know what you think in the comments below – Do you think we’ll see an Apple VR headset?