Rumors are circulating that Apple has dedicated a significant chunk of staff and resources to taking over the emerging virtual reality market.
Virtual reality is coming to a headset near you, and some of the world’s biggest tech companies are angling for a piece of the emerging market. According to a report from Apple Insider, the Financial Times revealed on Friday that the company plans to enter the ring with a virtual reality headset of their own.
The FT report also revealed that the company had purchased a firm called Flyby Media. Flyby specializes in augmented reality, and had spend time working with Google in the past. Apple has been interested in virtual reality for quite some time, but has remained silent about their plans. Reports have surfaced of prototype headsets that would compete with Oculus or Microsoft Hololens headsets.
There are many more clues that indicate that Apple is seeking to get involved with virtual reality. During the company’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said that he thought VR was cool, and hinted at his opinion that it won’t continue to be a niche product.
Apple has also recently acquired German augmented reality company Metaio, adding to its growing list of virtual reality investments. The company purchased PrimeSense, a Microsoft collaborator that helped develop the early generations of Kinect hardware for the Xbox 360, in 2013. It also confirmed that it had acquired the motion capture company Faceshift. Faceshift’s technology can impose human gestures onto virtual characters’ faces.
Given the company’s acquisitions and stance on the emerging field of virtual reality, it is reasonably safe to assume that the rumors of a secret division working on a VR project could be true. Augmented reality refers to the layer of digital information overlaid on top of the real world, and offers a myriad of possibilities for new technological developments. To date, Google Glass has taken the biggest leap with augmented reality, but that’s just the beginning. Expect Apple’s contribution to the field to change paradigms in unforeseen ways in the near future.