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Apple's virtual reality (VR) rumours and images

Lewis Painter | Feb. 17, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook says VR isn't a niche area, and has made a number of high-profile, VR-related hires and acquisitions

Apple is known to be a trailblazer, but it's still part of the Silicon Valley tech industry (albeit a more secretive one). If Google, FaceBook and Microsoft are all working on VR and AR solutions, you can be your bottom dollar that Apple also has a prototype in its labs.

Apple VR rumours: Apple sends employees to specialist VR lab

If Apple isn't developing a virtual reality headset, then why has it sent employees to Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab several times over the course of three months? As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Director Jeremy Bailenson made the remark regarding Apple visiting the centre during a Wall Street Journal conference in California. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab based at Stanford University is the first place that businesses will go before developing a virtual reality headset - Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook even went along shortly before it acquired Oculus. 

Speaking at the event, Bailenson remarked: "Apple hasn't come to my lab in 13 years - except they've come three times in the last three months. They come and they don't say a word, but there's a data point for you." As ever, Apple is keeping tight-lipped on the subject but this, along with recent comments made by Tim Cook claiming that VR isn't a niche and that it has interesting applications suggests that an Apple-branded VR headset is in the works, although it could still be a way away. 

Apple VR rumours: Tim Cook discusses VR at Apple quarterly earnings call

While people have been speculating that Apple will be making a virtual reality headset for well over a year now, the company hasn't officially acknowledged its interest in the VR market - until now. During Apple's quarterly earnings conference call in January 2016 (where Apple announced its biggest quarterly profit ever, $18.4 billion) Apple CEO Tim Cook fielded a question regarding virtual reality. His response? "In terms of VR, I don't think it's a niche. It's really cool and has some interesting applications."

Okay, so it's not quite confirmation that the company is actively developing a virtual reality headset, but let's look at the past. Back in 2014, before the announcement of the new Apple TV, Tim Cook was quoted saying that TV was an area that Apple had a "great interest in" - a year later, we had a completely new Apple TV boasting its own App Store and gaming capabilities. Cook also called the idea of smartwatches "interesting" back in 2013, way before the launch of the Apple Watch. So as we said, it's not confirmation, but it gives us a good idea at what to expect in the (possibly near) future.

 

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