Apple has been very careful lately, primarily in how they are dealing with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. While the CEO has been leaking tidbits to the public, the recent patent filings suggest that Apple may be releasing their own version of VR technology for the new iPhone. But don’t expect this to be a release you can pick up any time soon.
Why has Apple been careful?
Unlike Google and Samsung, who already have a huge chunk of the Mobile Virtual Reality market, Apple has been very careful and it is likely a good reason. Apple has a specific image that they like to keep: Quality made Simple. That has been the focus for a very long time and they don’t do things the same way as Google or Samsung, which is why they have phones that price the same as high end computers.
What does their image have to do with their patience in releasing a competing VR technology? Simple: When a company tries to sell something, they try to offer something other companies don’t have. The problem Apple has had with Virtual Reality is that it made it to the game rather late and a lot of the unique, new and impressive elements of VR have already been explored by the other two companies.
How are they going to beat this issue? Their patent filings suggest that they are already following in the same footsteps, but it is possible they intend to do something unusual. While there’s no concrete proof yet, you can see a growing shift towards Apple looking for a way to integrate a method that merges VR and AR technology while simultaneously building it into the phone rather than having a separate purchase for it.
“We are high on AR for the long run” – Apple CEO, Tim Cook
For the long run is an interesting way to refer to Apple’s plans. Cook could have said they are looking into AR and leave it at that. But this is where the theory on their as-yet-unreleased moves comes from. Clearly, if they are to stay in tune with how Apple has worked all along, they’ll want to deliver on a better user experience. What could this mean? They’ll probably do what nobody else has. They will want to bring the best of both worlds and Apple consumers likely won’t want to buy a separate component, as seen with the earbuds debacle. In addition to this, AR is a lower-processor using version of VR and it can utilize the distancing technology in iPhone 7’s new camera.
We can speculate all we want, and so can you, but until someone leaks more detailed information from the inside or tells us what they plan to do, theories will remain just that, theories. However, if Apple plans to sell to this type of market, then they have to make something that will stand out.
Their most recent patent in the VR world does tell a great deal about where they are headed:
Claim 1 of the ‘579 patent recites:
A head-mounted device that is worn on a user’s head and configured to integrate with a cellular telephone that is removable, the head-mounted device comprising: a frame that is configured to physically receive and carry the cellular telephone, wherein the frame places a display screen of the cellular telephone in front of the user’s eyes; and an optical subassembly configured to receive at least one image frame from the display screen of the cellular telephone, wherein the optical subassembly is interposed between the display screen and the user’s eyes.
Here’s what we’ve seen in very rough estimates:
What do you think Apple’s move will be? Tell us your opinions in the comments section.