Signs Apple are also into Virtual Reality

If you think Apple is still not into the whole AR/VR business you might be surprised of these hints on how they are working on making some VR headsets soon.

Signs Apple are also into Virtual Reality

Apple’s latest iPhone 7 event did not mention any company updates regarding virtual reality. This is really peculiar in many ways for one reason: Apple considers itself as an industry leader. Ever since Steve Jobs left the company, Apple seems to be lagging behind when it comes to groundbreaking innovations in their new product releases.

Why not virtual reality? Is Tim Cook biding his time before releasing a competition to the mighty HTC Vive and Oculus Rift? Will waiting be worth it? It is expected by it won’t take that much time before VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality) will become a household name and will be with the consumer electronics people use in a daily basis.

Is Apple even considering virtual reality as a new branch to their long lines of best-selling products? Here’s 5 clues that they might actually be.

They are hiring the right people for VR

In order for Apple to even consider to catch up with the virtual reality band wagon, they’d have to hire some awesome people who will create the whole ecosystem from the ground up. Immersive virtual reality is not an easy thing to do and Apple knows this. In 2014, Apple started hiring app engineers who will be tasked to make high performance apps that will integrate with virtual reality systems for prototyping and user testing. Eventually, less than a month later, Apple is finding VR and AR programmers.

Then there was Apple’s hiring of Doug Bowman, Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech, and an influential figure in the world of virtual reality academia.

They are filing VR headset patents

We may not know this, but Apple has started filing patents for some virtual reality headset designs even way back in 2007. This even shows a dock-like device for a smartphone to go into and an augmented reality display.

But it seems that Apple did not prioritize and took this as a leverage to launch an all out pioneer VR headset campaign. We see this designs in the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard where a smartphone serves as the virtual reality display. And the great thing about this is it is relatively cheaper compared to what might Apple charge, if they have created these headsets at all.

They are buying out VR-related companies

Apple purchased Metaio, an augmented reality firm in 2015. This is just the start of the series of Apple acquisitions of different AR and computer-vision related companies. The following are all Apple acquisitions after Metaio:

  • Faceshift (marker-less facial mapping and animation)
  • Emotient (facial expression recognition & analysis)
  • Flyby Media (large-scale SLAM, indoor navigation, sensor fusion, image recognition, and 3D tracking)

They want competition

Here’s the thing, Apple would want to compete with other companies such as Samsung, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, and Qualcomm. They have been and would want to do that. Virtual reality may be the key to the future and if Apple won’t act fast enough then they’d be irrelevant and will go down like what happened to Blackberry.

In order to make more money, this is the most logical thing to do. Compete in VR/AR or lose out.

They want more market share

Okay, Apple may not be as popular as they used to be. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may be the end of Apple’s glamorous reputation in the smartphone industry. In India, they have a dismal 2% market share and in some parts of the world continues to lose out on Android.

Apple is in need of a new branch where they can dominate and that is in VR. Make some awesome headsets and they may just come back from the rut they are in.