We all know it’s coming; Apples foray into the virtual reality space. While there has been speculation for quite some time now that Apple will eventually develop their own VR headset of some sort, especially after it was revealed that the company had hired a team of VR specialists, a recent update to a patent application has given us new clues about the possible device.
Patent application 20160085076 has been updated recently by Apple with a diagram which seems to give away further details on how the future device may work. Like we speculated in the past, Apple seems to be leaning toward an iPhone compatible headset instead of a stand-alone device. The headset would work in a similar fashion as the Samsung Gear VR, but at the same time have numerous features which would set it apart. Instead of being strapped to the user’s head like other devices are, Apple’s headset could be worn in a similar fashion to eyeglasses, which tuck behind the ears. Also, sound would be send directly to the ear meaning that those around you will not be able to hear what you are listening to. Additionally, unlike the various other headsets we have seen, Apple VR would electronically connect the iPhone directly to the headset, meaning that the phone may actually power the headset rather than simply providing its screen for use. While it’s not known yet what Apple’s ultimate plans are, it appears as if the company may be looking to create a thinner, sleeker device, which may have it’s own standalone screen.
Notable from the newly released diagram is a small hole so that the iPhone’s camera can be utilized when it’s connected to the headset. This could also potentially be used for future mixed reality applications, which Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster believes will be a part of Apple’s future plans. Munster has estimated that Apple will launch a virtual reality headset within a two-year timeframe. This also happens to fall inline with analyst estimates for when Apple will reveal an OLED display within the iPhone (likely the iPhone 8). Munster believes that mixed reality is still many years out for Apple, stating that he believes that 2021-2025 will be when the company may reveal a product using such technology.
There is no doubt that in two years the competition within the VR space will be fierce, but if Apple can present a product which outperforms the others and one which is made solely for the iPhone, the market could be the next big driver of iPhone sales as well as applications. Let’s hear your thoughts on Apple’s VR ambitions in the Apple Virtual Reality forum on VRTalk.com.