We think of Apple like this. It is not the innovative company some would have you believe, instead Apple enters an existing but nascent market and makes defining products within it. That’s pretty admirable in itself, think how the iPod, iPhone, and iPad impacted their respective markets and you get the picture. Apple is now looking to do the same with virtual reality.
Cupertino will certainly not be the first when it finally dips its toes in the VR market, but one way to show it still has the mojo that many think has gone is to define this growing tech niche. Oculus has already laid a major claim to having the defining VR product of the first generation, but Apple will look to be the defining company in taking VR to the masses.
We will see, but at the moment Apple is even playing catchup to mobile rivals Sony, Samsung, HTC, and Google, who all have excellent VR headsets of varying price tags (ahem, Google Cardboard). Cupertino is ok with this latecomer stance and has actually been working on its own VR project for some time, likely to be a VR headset.
Cupertino has been snapping up its fair share of companies in the virtual and augmented reality field, including the recent $6 million acquisition of emotion tracking software startup Emotient. Apple also apparently has a secret team numbering in hundreds that is working on the VR headset, while recently the company employed Doug Bowman, someone who is a noted expert in the virtual and augmented reality industry.
To add some more fuel to the fire, Apple CEO Tim Cook seems extra enthused (Cook is rarely someone who gets publically enthused about a niche), stating during the company’s Q4 earnings call this week:
"In terms of VR, I don't think it's a niche. It's really cool and has some interesting applications,” Cook said when asked about virtual reality technology.