An Apple virtual reality gear seems far from Apple's focus at this point especially when rumors are mostly pointing to the way the Cupertino company is more interested in augmented reality technology.
Apple And Carl Zeiss AG Partnership
This last has been underscored when a Carl Zeiss AG employee disclosed that Apple is purportedly partnering with his company to develop AR optics.
The source's claim was first reported by Robert Scoble while covering CES 2017. The tech evangelist even stressed that Carl Zeiss' booth at the event has been devoid of any technology involving AR due to the Apple collaboration. He argued that the company could have muzzled the optics manufacturer, preventing it from showcasing any related technology before the partnership is announced.
While Carl Zeiss AG is better known for its camera lenses, the company has already built its own AR headset called VR One Plus. This device is said to be outfitted with a special mobile optics that can allow any smartphone to be transformed into a VR or AR system.
According to Scoble, Apple and Zeiss' partnership is expected to yield a pair of AR glasses that could ship by 2018. Save for this bit, the tech world is still clueless about Apple's AR implementation.
AR On An Apple Device
Based on the nature of the Zeiss VR One Plus, one can only surmise that the technology could be deployed in or used alongside the next-generation iPhones. This is corroborated by previous reports that indicate Apple is already poised to release a new SDK after AR features are already integrated into the iPhone's camera app.
It is important to remember that Tim Cook has repeatedly articulated Apple's interest on AR. At one point, he even claimed that AR is the future and predicted that VR holds lower commercial interest.
"There's virtual reality and there's augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting," Cook said. "But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far."
Those wondering what this AR business is all about, it is a technology that can bring virtual objects into the real world. This is similar to how the popular Pokémon GO game is able to overlay virtual characters on top of physical environments via the smartphone's camera.
Apple AR Competition
The idea that Apple is working feverishly on its AR technology should no longer surprise anyone. Aside from its not-so secret interest in the platform, its rival Google has already built its own AR product called Tango. There are now two mobile devices running the technology, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR.
At CES 2017, Tango is already on full display, impressing spectators with the way it is setting itself apart from VR devices, which are focused on bringing users into the virtual space.