It’s not been confirmed yet, but rumors have it that Apple’s team could already be working on VR and other augmented reality projects.
- Rumors on Apple’s VR involvement started in March, 2015
- Apple has been acquiring companies involved in virtual and augmented reality
- The latest rumors were spurred by the purchasing of Flyby Media
It seems that virtual reality is a point of interest in many companies, but Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has curiously stayed out of it. Beyond acquisitions of VR-focused companies, such as Metaio, Faceshift, and Emotient, they stood away from a clear confirmation. Perhaps they are waiting for the market to bloom, leaving Facebook and Microsoft to plant the seeds.
However, most doubted that Apple would stay out of it completely. The rumors seemed to reach peak with the acquisition of Doug Bowman, an award-winning VR expert. And yet, there was no confirmation from the company. Now, Apple acquired Flyby Media, an augmented reality startup company, which has now thrown fuel on the fire. While this was thought to finally confirm rumors, it did not.
Speculations, however, are continuing to circulate about the possibility of Apple creating a headset for virtual and augmented reality. Even more, it’s said that there are “hundreds” of people of the staff already working it. The prototype has been building for “several months”. It could tackle on the augmented reality field that has not been excellently taken by Google Glass. Or, it could perhaps rival titans such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Facebook’s Oculus Rift.
The news arrive in the wake of Apple Chief Executive, Tim Cook’s, statements on VR. In a brief comment, he stated that virtual reality is “cool”, has some “interesting applications”, but does not believe it will be a niche project as it matures.
Apple, however, has a variety of patents that tie the company to virtual reality, including transparency displays mobile mapping solutions, and iPhone-powered virtual displays. So, it is possible that they might indeed make a similar approach as Google’s Cardboard. At least, so it seemed for a little while. The new rumors suggest higher ambitions, ones to take on Oculus Rift.
Rumors of Apple’s involvement in the virtual and augmented reality market first started in March last year. They suggested that the company has been working for a device since at least 2015, starting with a small research team in the field. After numerous acquisitions and, reportedly, snatching a few employees from Microsoft and Lytro, there are now hundreds working on a future consumer-device.
The news is potentially exciting, as Apple has shown itself to have a knack for entering the market. While they come in a little late, they bring innovation on existing technology. It happened with the iPod, tablets, and, perhaps, it might happen with virtual reality. However, first true entries on the market have not launched just yet.
Depending on the success of virtual reality, it remains to be seen how many more companies will be designing their own VR or AR headset.
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