Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said that the company is studying a number of possible developments in both hardware and software in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality. At the moment we still don't know what he has in mind for Apple, but some experts have tried to get an idea of what the company could offer us in the near future.
For years, the world of videogames, he has worked and invested billions of dollars to simulate on the computer the real world. Today the results are outstanding and will be more and more with the passage of time, also because the sector videogame is making the most money of the entire film industry for years now. Virtual reality promises users a more engaging experience, since the player is immersed in an environment with video and sound very realistic. Instead of merely watching a screen, in VR the user is allowed to turn back, look up and have a 360-degree view of the game environment, interacting in a way more immersive with it.
According to Tim Cook, the virtual reality will be one of the cornerstones of the future of technology. The same applies to augmented reality, which uses similar technology but with different implementations.
For about three decades, the term "virtual reality" was used in a very general manner to any type of simulation of the real world. The initial deployments have been used by industry entertainment in amusement parks or in the simulators taken directly from the training the military. The first uses of VR employed conventional displays in combination with a series of mechanisms able to offer a complete feedback of the environment to the player.
Often, in the games rooms are the recipient of the simulators taken more or less directly from the military bases, since the VR technology has been used already from the '90s to train with the military, especially in the USA. In the following, were introduced to the viewers, VR, that provide the user with both an audio feedback that a video input once worn. hi the one wearing it.
Augmented reality is easier to implement, because the hardware requirements are lower at least for a basic use of the technology.
Augmented reality can be used to manipulate and generate overlaps between the virtual world and the real world. For example, can be used to guide a user on a road or to capture virtual creatures immersed in the real world (that's right, Pokèmon Go).
Also, the Project Glass sidelined by Google is an example of augmented reality, since the user view of information superimposed on the real world by leveraging the device's camera. The Google Glass, however, have never had the commercial success hoped for.
Google has then made the Cardboard, that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone, and as AR as VR system, even if very rudimentary. The technology is still used in many schools throughout the world, and Google offers a true "virtual field trips" to remote areas of the earth or culturally interesting to expand the horizons of the students. The HoloLens of Microsoft are, instead, a system AR full-face that works with the Windows ecosystem, that are also aimed these to offer primarily virtual tours in different places of the world.
Oculus is the company that most of all worked to VR technology, making a series of viewers, always the most advanced. After the campaign of crowfunding, where they have been collected over $ 2.5 million dollars, the company in 2012 has brought to market its first viewer for virtual reality. Today, the acquisition by Facebook opens new horizons to interesting scenarios, especially in the field of video games. The Oculus Rift, however, must be used together with a PC powerful enough to to work well, while the support to the macOS has only been announced. Alternatives to the Oculus are the HTC Lives, but many other companies have produced displays of high quality.
Apple is still facing officially in this industry, but Tim Cook has repeatedly said that the reality is virtual and augmented reality are two areas with an enormous potential: "The VR is cool and is no longer a technology niche". Also augmented reality there are no confirmations from Apple: "The AR is really great and has excellent potential. We have invested a lot in this area, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is a good technology for our customers and a great business opportunity. For this we are investing a lot in the augmented reality. I believe that the AR is extremely interesting, for this we are working to offer various novelties for our customers."
As of today, the iOS devices of Apple can enter the world of augmented reality, thanks to a series of apps, and in the world of virtual reality, using accessories third very rudimentary. Nothing to see, in short, with the Oculus right to speak. In short, if Apple wants to get serious may not be limited to these two types of implementations based and must instead develop a system software/hardware high-level.
Clearly, nowadays, AR and VR are not mature technologies, and you must work very because the to become. Lag, power, hardware, high, little software support are only some of the problems that affect these two technologies. What is needed is a seamless integration between the software and the hardware, and Apple has always worked well. Difficult to predict now what are the plans of the company in these two areas, but for sure something will come out within 2-3 years. Maybe, Apple could collaborate with an important partner in charge of the hardware, and focus all on the optimization software to bring the VR is worthy of the name on the iPhone and iPad.
We all know, Apple has not created the Mp3, Apple did not invent the tablet, Apple did not invent the smartphone. But everywhere is the entry, has changed the industry. It will be the same with AR and VR?