Virtual Reality is becoming increasingly more and more popular in the consumer technology landscape, which in turn has forced a number of prominent companies to place importance on it. Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft have invested heavily in this particular arena over the last few years, with more companies expected to follow going forward. It was really only a matter of time until Cupertino-based Apple got involved in the virtual/augmented reality scene, and that time could be now according to a new research note.
As a company Apple hasn’t really delivered on the VR front, well, at least from a public perspective. While Tim Cook and his team are happy to wax lyrical about new innovations and products that are coming out of the Apple camp, very little has been coming out relating to virtual or augmented reality innovations. However, a number of patent filings and key personnel acquisitions in recent times have provided experts with a small glimpse into what is potentially to come from Apple in 2016 and beyond.
Apple has already been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an iPhone-powered headset that would offer similar levels of functionality to Samsung’s Gear VR. There’s also the giveaway fact that Apple swallowed up Metaio, an augmented reality firm, earlier this year and then almost immediately started recruiting for VR “experts”. These key components have led Daniel Ives of FBR & Co to predict that 2016 will be the year that Apple will become “very aggressive” when it comes to virtual or augmented reality:
Apple will become very aggressive on the virtual/augmented reality front through organic as well as acquisitive means in 2016 as this represents a natural next generation consumer technology that plays well into its unrivaled iPhone ecosystem.
Apple may be planning on venturing into the VR arena to see what is possible within the iPhone ecosystem, but it’s unlikely the company will have its way with early domination. Facebook-owned Oculus, HTC, and Sony are all slated to release VR-centric consumer devices during 2016, meaning Apple will likely come into the space with a product or experience in a market that already exists. Still, with a number of large organizations now exploring VR 2016 looks set to be a big year.
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