Apple VR, AppleVR, iVR, Mac VR – what sounds best? I don’t really think the name would matter too much if, or should I say when Apple decide to launch a virtual reality headset.
When it comes to wearable tech, Apple seem to take a back seat and wait until a genre becomes popular before launching their own product, this certainly seemed to be the case with their debut smartwatch as it was launched nearly a year after the Samsung Gear Live and two years after the Pebble Classic.
Waiting until consumers begin to embrace a new genre before publicly getting involved is a pretty damn fine business strategy. It definitely worked for the Apple Watch as it became the world’s best-selling smartwatch within days of its release. Apple are pioneers in their own right, but with wearables they aren’t the first ones taking the risks, not publicly anyway. Of course Apple might have been working on wearables projects for years before their competitors and they’re just really good at keeping it secret – the Apple Watch was “apparently” in development for three years before its release.
Anyway, the same kind of pattern seems to be emerging with VR in light of the recent news that the Cupertino tech mammoths have hired Doug Bowman, one of the leading VR researchers in the U.S. His work also includes augmented reality, he won a $100,000 grant from Microsoft in November 2015 to work on a mixed reality data study around the upcoming HoloLens.
Source: Financial Times
It’s pretty clear now that VR is going to be BIG! And soon.. Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and HTC Vive have been eating up the headlines over the last year, and they’re all set to be released in 2016.
There’s also Mobile VR like the Samsung Gear VR which some analysts predict will be the best-selling type of VR in the coming years. Allowing these other companies to run away with the VR scene isn’t really in Apple’s best interest – hence the move for one of the top brains in the business. The big incoming VR systems – Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are PC powered, and Playstation VR is powered by Playstation 4. A future Apple VR system will probably be Mac powered (what else?).
When it comes to mobile VR, as far back as 2008 Apple filed a patent for an iPhone powered VR HMD so it would be good to see that arrive as well. There are iPhone powered HMDs available, such as the View Master VR for the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s but nothing released by Apple as of yet.
Apple VR patent. Source: Daily Telegraph
Whatever the weather, it looks like Apple are coming to shake up the virtual reality scene, and history tells us from the company’s previous releases that they’ll more than likely dominate it when they arrive..