Following on from Tim Cook being quizzed about his thoughts on Virtual Reality as a technology, a new report is doing rounds on the Internet suggesting that Apple thinks more of the tech than Cook was letting on. Today’s report by The FT suggests that VR is well and truly on Apple’s agenda, and that the company even has a secret internal team working on various augmented and Virtual Reality avenues.

We don’t appear to be talking about a select few Apple employees taken away from their everyday duties to see whether or not VR/AR is a viable avenue to explore for the company. The report suggests that Apple has hundreds of highly-skilled employees working as part of a”secret research unit” tasked with exploring all potential technologies and products relating to AR and VR. A number of those workers are said to be personnel from companies that Apple has acquired, whereas others have been professionally poached from Microsoft and Lytro.

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Apple also recently made a fairly high profile personnel acquisition in the form of Doug Bowman, who is known to be one of the leading Virtual Reality experts residing within the United States. The Cupertino-based giant has also acquired a number of companies in this space, including Metaio, Faceshift, and Emotient. Tim Cook has also just opened up the cheque book once again to take control of Flyby Media, an augmented reality-focused startup.

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When you add those companies and personnel acquisitions together, you appear to get a behind-closed-doors research team tasked with building the next big consumer product relating to Virtual Reality. It’ll be extremely interesting to see what Apple officially introduces to the public when, and if, a product makes it to that stage. For now, the company is said to have created prototype VR/AR headsets that offer similar visuals and functionality to that of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

During Apple’s recent earnings report, CEO Tim Cook was asked whether or not he believed Virtual Reality was a niche technology that would ultimately only appeal to a small group of people. Cook handled the question well, suggesting that VR is actually capable of being utilized in some excellent applications. If this recent speculation is to be taken serious, it is pretty clear that Apple has something in works in this space that is currently considered best kept as a secret.

(Source: Financial Times)

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