As the technology industry continues to embrace virtual reality (VR) headsets, Apple is getting involved too, having just been award a VR headset patent.
Whether it’s a gimmick or even just a passing fad, few can deny that virtual reality (VR) is gathering some serious steam. With the $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR (and Oculus Rift) by Facebook and the reveal of the Project Morpheus headset by Sony, soon more and more people will be running around with immersive screens strapped to their faces.
So far the, the uses appear to either be for gaming or commercial purposes. For example, VR in gaming can make you feel like the protagonist yourself as opposed to just playing a game in first person by looking at a screen. As for commerce, we could soon be using VR headsets to do our shopping by exploring a virtual version of our favourite retailers.
While the tech isn’t there just yet and some developers are waiting to see the sales numbers until they make software for it, one company that is fully embracing it is Apple. This month, the company was granted a VR headset patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, after initially filing the patent in 2008.
The patent explains:
“[The Apple VR headset] temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device. The frame may place a display screen of the portable electronic device in front of the user’s eyes. The display screen of the portable electronic device may act as the primary display screen of the head-mounted device.”
So what’s the likelihood of this Apple VR headset coming to fruition? Well, the fact that the headset would use the iPhone as its screen is very interesting as it’s similar to a strategy that Samsung took when they matched the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with their Samsung Gear VR headset, so this would put Apple on par with their rivals. Furthermore, it’s also an ingenious way of getting people to buy two Apple devices and it could encourage people to jump ship from Android to iOS.
In addition to this, other illustrations from the patent show that Apple is considering making some sort of handheld controller too, which would make the Apple VR headset ideal for gaming. It also shows that they’ve really thought this one out, which is a very good sign that well see the Apple VR headset in the wild eventually.
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