Apple secret research unit could be building its own VR headset

If you’re a company making mobile devices right now, you’re either already developing your own virtual reality hardware, or you’re seriously worried about missing if you don’t. Samsung and HTC have already made efforts to get in on the ground floor, and as high-profile devices like the Vive and Oculus Rift get ready to reach consumer hands, we’re hearing about more and more companies putting serious efforts into making sure that they don’t get left behind – firms like Google, doubling down on early interest and recruiting new talent to keep ahead of the VR curve. The latest company to get caught up in this VR-rush is probably one that shouldn’t surprise anyone, not with its deep R&D budget, anyway, as a new report points to a massive effort over at Apple to develop its own VR headset.

Apple’s VR research unit sounds pretty substantial by this account, with staff numbering in the hundreds and including talent form big names in computing and optics like Lytro, Microsoft, and now Flyby Media.

What we don’t know right now is exactly what kind of product Apple is hoping to build. Is it thinking more immersive VR, or augmented reality? Will we get some accessory that’s built around a future iPhone model, or will Apple pursue a dedicated headset? However things end up, Apple appears to be serious about exploring its options, and sources report that for the past several months now, the secret team’s produced a number of prototype headsets.

Despite the vast size of Apple’s VR project, the company could be aiming even larger still, and we hear that it’s still interested in acquiring tech from new firms in the hopes of further fleshing out this headset effort. Even with this big investment, though, there’s no guarantee we’ll ever see an Apple VR headset reach the light of day, so we may want to keep our expectations in check until Apple goes official with any plans.

Source: Financial Times

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!