When are VR and AR coming to my iPhone?

IDG.TV | Feb 23, 2016

Apple is secretly developing a VR/AR prototype that could give the iPhone a completely new way to view the world.

The iPhone could soon take us into virtual reality, but please Apple don’t make me have to wear something on my face.

Love him or hate him, tech analyst Gene Munster has another Apple prediction – this time he's telling clients that the iPhone's future hinges on virtual and augmented reality.

This means that you’ll be able to use your iPhone to view the world but with an extra layer of computer-generated elements, like graphics, video, and GPS data. For example, you’ll be able to point your iPhone to a bus stop and see when the next bus is coming, or point it to the Golden Gate bridge to find out that it was built in… whatever year it was built in.

Other tech companies have already jumped on the VR bandwagon. Facebook has Oculus Rift, Samsung has Gear VR, and Microsoft is working on HoloLens. But here’s hoping that Apple’s VR product is a little bit more sophisticated than those clunky headsets. After all, that’s what Apple is best at: Taking crazy, futuristic technology and designing it for real, ordinary humans.

Apple totally knows this is their secret formula. Talking to the New Yorker last year, CEO Tim Cook said that the company’s goal for wearable technology was to create something that “isn’t obnoxious” and that “doesn’t create a barrier between you and me.” By the way, in that interview Cook was specifically talking about Google Glass. Ouch.

Munster says that Apple could launch this new VR and AR equipped iPhone within the next 2 years. Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that Apple already had a top secret lab dedicated to this project. And in the most recent earnings call, Tim Cook said that virtual reality had “some interesting applications.” Mind you, that’s exactly what he said about wearables right before they launched the Apple Watch.

Considering that you can pre-order an Oculus Rift headset right now, seems like Apple has some catching up to do. Or maybe they’re just waiting to see how all those other products fail to create something that everyone’s gonna want to own.

From what we’re hearing, VR and AR could be ripe and ready. As long as, of course, it doesn’t come in a headset because I don’t really look that good in motorcycle helmets.