January 31, 2016 10:00am
Virtual reality really seems as though it’s ramping up to be the next big advance in consumer technology.
Between Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality headset, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and simpler virtual reality projects like Google Cardboard, there’s a lot of money going into the burgeoning VR industry right now.
During Apple’s latest earnings call, Tim Cook was asked what Apple thought about virtual reality, and Apple’s CEO said, “it’s very cool, and has some interesting applications.” While Apple hasn’t yet given any firm indication it’s working on virtual reality related projects, the company’s job postings and recent acquisitions suggest it’s more than just ‘interesting’ in the concept.
Historically, Apple has denied working on untapped projects like watches, styluses, and TV app platforms, right up until the day they announce the finished product. Keeping that in mind, watching as the company acquires upstarts like Flyby Media (augmented reality), PrimeSense (motion sensing), Metaio (augmented reality) and Faceshift (facial motion capture), a picture of potential future plans begins to form.
In addition to these acquisitions, Apple has hired members of the Lytro team, who previously worked on light field optics, members of the HoloLens team at Microsoft, and Doug Bowman, a VR researcher. The company also filed several virtual reality related patents last year, and put up job postings to “create high-performance apps that integrate with virtual reality systems for prototyping and user testing.”
With all of this evidence piling up, along with rumours that Apple is currently testing different VR headset prototypes over the last several months, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before we see Apple announce its VR product on an event stage.