Apple has made significant strides in the world of technology. With the iPhone, they practically invented the smartphone. They also brought the tablet to the mainstream. Now, Apple is focusing on the emerging world of virtual reality or VR.
One of the newest hires from Apple is Doug Bowman. He is a virtual reality researcher and one of the pioneers in the field. He worked as a computer science professor at Virginia Tech. There, he studied human-computer interfacing for immersive and complex three-dimensional environments. Bowman received the 2014 Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee technical achievement award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Another hire is a NASA expert Jeff Norris. They put him on to help to develop virtual reality glasses. Right now, he is with a team to create AR glasses that can pair with the iPhone. Although the project is not officially announced yet, looking at Apple’s history it is apparent that it will be brought to the world.
Apple hired Arthur van Hoff, who was a founding executive of Disney’-backed VR start-up called Jaunt. There are several other former Jaunt employees now working for Apple. A recent report suggested that they may begin to be manufactured as soon as Q4 of this year.
Apple shows that by hiring him they are investing in the knowledge and skill of a team of people dedicated to virtual reality and artificial reality. This market can potentially be worth billions of dollars, proposed to generate more than $120 billion in revenue by 2020, as forecasted by Digi-Capital, a tech advisor.
Apple has made other moves to show that it is playing in the VR market. They acquired Metaio, which manufactures the necessary technology to create digital worlds. Back in 2013, they purchased PrimeSense, which is the company that developed Microsoft’s Kinect 3D camera which is a visual depth sensor tech. The company is gearing up to enter the VR world in a big way.
Right now, the Apple Store has VR technology available such as the 360-video portal VRSE and the DinoTrek VR Experience. Other tech giants, such as Google and Samsung, are currently performing well in the VR world, and they are amping up their team in order to be able to compete in the sector.
Joost van Dreunen is a market analyst of the intelligence firm SuperData research. He says, “Apple’s entry into the VR market would, at least initially, validate the investments made by companies like Facebook, Sony, Samsung, and Alphabet at a time when mainstream consumer demand is not yet proven… At this year’s CES, I noticed game developers and movie producers, both creative industry with which is intimately familiar, are eagerly experimenting with the technology (virtual reality),” said van Dreunen. “As the major players place their bets, it makes sense to remove a few key pieces, in this case, a prominent VR researcher, off the board both as a defensive move and as part of Apple’s ongoing effort behind product innovation.”