Since the launch of headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift in 2016, Windows-based desktops and notebooks has been the exclusive platform for PC virtual reality apps and games. Today, Apple is refreshing some of its Mac PCs with hardware that will finally be able to support VR headsets and apps for the first time.
The refreshed versions of the iMac all-in-one PCs, which are on sale beginning today, will include a 21.5-inch model with a Retina 4K display and either an AMD Radeon Pro 555 or 560 graphics card. The 27-inch Retina 5K iMac will have an even more powerful AMD Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580 graphic chip with up to 8 GB of VRAM. Both will have Intel’s most recent seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors. Prices for these PCs will begin at $1,299.
Apple revealed these new iMacs today during the main keynote at its WWDC 2017 developer conference. It also showed off a demo of one of these new iMacs with the HTC Vive headset, running content from ILM and the Unity engine. The upcoming next major update for MacOS, High Sierra, will support SteamVR, which is used with the Vive headset. Apple also plans to release a VR dev kit that will take the form of a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with an AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU. It will allow older Macs and MacBooks to run VR headsets and apps. A price point and release date for this developer enclosure has not been announced.
Finally, Apple revealed plans to launch the iMac Pro, which will have even more horsepower to run VR apps. It will include an Intel 8-core or 16-core Xeon processor, a 27-inch 5K display, and an AMD Radeon Vega graphics GPU with up to 16 GB of VRAM. However, you will have to wait a while to get your hands on it. It won’t go on sale until sometime in December, for the starting price of $4,999.