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With virtual and augmented reality threatening to take off, Apple has remained pretty quiet on the VR front. Rather than launching straight into making its own devices, the company is expected to support third-party VR devices through its “Made for iPhone” program by 2018.
iPhoneHacks reports that industry analyst Gene Munster anticipates a staggered approach from Apple, accepting devices into the MFi program while working on its own VR technologies in secret. Apple has acquired several companies specializing in virtual and augmented reality in the last few years, and according to LinkedIn has at least 141 current employees with a VR background.
Tim Cook let slip during a recent conference call that he can see a lot of “interesting applications” for virtual reality, adding that it’s “really cool.” That’s probably as close as the CEO will get to admitting Apple has a VR team until the company has something official to say.Accessories given the official MFi seal of approval have been “certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards,” and could be sold in Apple’s retail stores. This could potentially give the technology a big push forward and pave the way for Apple to develop its own VR tech once the market has expanded.
You can already try out virtual reality on an iPhone using the affordable Google Cardboard, while Samsung’s Gear VR project offers something similar. It would be wise for Apple to step into the market in some way before its competitors get too big of a head-start – though, of course, Apple are the kings of taking over a market even after arriving late to the party.
— TapSmart (@TapSmart) February 9, 2016