Virtual reality has been a part of sci-fi movies and books for decades, but in the recent years the technology started moving towards commercial market and this year we are going to see actual VR gear in stores. Initially, virtual reality technology will be used solely for gaming, but Facebook believes that eventually VR could be used for communications and other things. Apparently, Apple is also interested in VR and is actually hiring appropriate specialists.
Apple is presently looking for a senior display systems engineer for “display systems design and development related to VR environments,” reports 9to5mac. Apple needs someone, who has experience in monitor and projection technologies, who will help the company to develop “extremely high fidelity VR environments.” The candidate will have to design, select and specify appropriate hardware and software components to optimize fidelity in a variety of VR environments. He or she will also have to assist software, electrical and mechanical engineers during development process.
Apple is also hiring multiple specialists, which could be useful for developing various aspects of virtual reality hardware and software. For example, the company is seeking software engineers to work on virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.
While it is possible to guess what elements of virtual reality hardware and software Apple is developing from its job listings and some other indicators (e.g., patents and patent applications), it is completely impossible to predict what Apple could finally ship.
Without any doubts, virtual reality presents rather incredible opportunities for many markets beyond video games. Apple could be interested in many, if not the majority of them. However, it is pretty obvious that in the current form virtual reality hardware is appropriate only for core gamers, not for general consumers and even not casual gamers. It will take a lot of time to perfect VR headsets and it actually remains to be seen whether consumers would actually like to wear anything at all. While VR in the form of various headsets offers loads of types of user experiences, they have major limitations that will take decades and hundreds of technological breakthroughs (holograms, projectors, bandwidth, etc.) to overcome.
Since Apple is hiring engineers, it must be up to something. However, the company is known for not releasing products that it creates and tests in its labs, so, it is not cast in stone that Apple will release its VR headset any time soon. Since Apple clearly bets on its platform and ecosystem at large, it is obvious that the latter have to be expanded with new hardware and software to stay competitive. From this perspective, it is natural to anticipate Apple to offer some VR hardware over time, but before that it is more logical to expect the company to introduce something akin to Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens, but done completely differently.
Apple did not comment on the news-story.
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KitGuru Says: It is great to see that Apple is working on AR and VR projects. One should keep in mind that these projects are rather long term. On the other hand, a TV-set from Apple is something that could actually make a lot of sense. Unlike a VR headset from a company, whose clients are barely core gamers.