Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) has hired a virtual reality (VR) expert and it can give some hints about the company’s direction in the increasing segment of the new VR technology that is being developed by companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Samsung.
The tech giant directed by Tim Cook hired Doug Bowman, who was a professor of computer science and director of the Center for Human Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech, according to his academic profile published online. He has worked with projects such as 3D user interface with consumer level products, immersive military training systems and organic 3D modeling.
Mr. Bowman was also recognized by Microsoft, which awarded him with $100,000, for collaborating with investigations in the segment of virtual reality, that are going to be used in the Hololens glasses, which are being developed by the Washington-headquartered company. Apple has not confirmed the information that was first published by the Financial Times.
The iPhone maker has not announced plans to work in the segment of virtual reality, however, the company has registered patents for VR gadgets that work with a smartphone such as the Samsung Gear VR headset. That being said, Apple has bought software companies such as Emotient, that develops an emotion-recognition system, and Metaio and Faceshift which develop softwares that are powered by augmented reality.
Analysts such as Goldman Sachs have calculated that the virtual reality market could be worth $80 billion by 2025, since tech brands such as Oculus Rift from Facebook, Playstation and HTC are going to produce new gadgets that will arrive on the market by the first half of 2016.
Nonetheless, Apple is recognized in the tech world for its secretiveness, so if a new product is being developed by the brand, users won’t see it until it is unveiled by Tim Cook in a special keynote. Other brands such as Google, Samsung and Oculus have published information about their VR projects, since they first started their development.
“Fundamentally, virtual/augmented reality creates a new and even more intuitive way to interact with a computer. In the world of virtual/augmented reality, the controls of the computer become what we are already familiar with through gestures and graphics. We believe VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multibillion-dollar industry, and possibly be as game changing as the advent of the PC,” wrote Goldman Sachs analysts on January 13 in a note to clients.
In December last year, Apple announced 360 video support for the Apple TV. The gadget that started as a hobby for Steve Jobs, now functions alongside the Siri Remote, which permits users to control the different angles of videos using the remote’s trackpad. In other words, users are allowed to look around in 360-degree views while rotating the view with the remote.
“I’d wager that there is a substantial team within Apple figuring out how the company will play a role in this technology. It certainly can’t let rivals such as Facebook, Google and Samsung run away with the market, particularly given the groundswell of momentum building around smartphone-based virtual reality,” said Ben Wood, an analyst for CCS Insight, to the Financial Times.
Source: Financial Times