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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 VR Rumours: Apple hires virtual reality developers

If we cast our minds back to November 2014, some may remember that Apple posted a job listing for app engineers experienced with 3D graphics, virtual realityand augmented reality. The job posting was quickly removed, but it specifically asked for developers to build "high-performance apps that integrate with Virtual Reality systems for prototyping and user testing."

Since then, Apple has made a number of relatively high-profile hires for its virtual reality project, including Microsoft's Nick Thompson, an engineer that worked on the HoloLens audio hardware for three years. Apple also hired Bennett Wilburn, another Microsoft employee, who focused on "machine learning technology for human activity recognition" with his previous experience including the likes of Lytro and Huawei.

Along with ex-Microsoft employees, Apple has also hired Doug Bowman, a man considered to be a leader in the field of 3D user interfaces. His previous experience includes working as a computer science professor at Virginia Tech, as well as being the head of the school's Center for Human-Computer Interaction. Lastly, we haveGraham Myhre, a man that previously worked at Lytro developing specialised lenses and sensors, but is now "investigating new display and optical technologies for future generations of Apple products" - at least that's what his LinkedIn says anyway.

As well as this, a recent report from the Financial Times claims that Apple has actually successfully developed a virtual reality prototype, and is actively testing it behind closed doors - no doubt by the spree of VR-related hires at Apple over the past few months. Though a prototype is floating around, the FT source doesn't go into detail about what we can expect from Apple's seemingly upcoming headset. 

Apple VR acquisitions: Apple buys a number of VR-related companies

One of Apple's biggest and most popular acquisitions was back in 2013 when the company bought PrimeSense, the company that developed the original Xbox Kinect, for a whopping $345 million. That's a huge amount of money to buy a company for technology that might not be used, in our opinion anyway. While many first assumed that it'd tie in with Apple's rumoured TV set (or the Apple TV itself), it seems more suited to a possible VR/AR headset.  

It didn't stop there either, as 2015 was a busy year for Apple - and we're not talking about the number of new products. The first acquisition of the year was Metaio, a German company that Apple acquired back in May 2015. Metaio was a relatively well-known company with regards to augmented reality, powering many of the popular AR applications being used today - including Ikea's virtual catalog, and Ferarri's AR showroom app. Since being bought out by Apple, Metaio has gone quiet - heading to its website will offer you a brief overview of the company, a contact email address and not much else. Mysterious.

 

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