Apple may not have shown much interest in diving into virtual reality over the past few years, but the director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab says the company has shown some intense interest in the space recently.
Speaking at a technology conference this week, Jeremy Bailenson revealed that Apple employees have become regulars in his lab recently — and they won’t say why.
“Apple hasn’t come to my lab in the last 13 years, except they’ve come three times in the last three months,” Bailenson told The Wall Street Journal. “They come and they don’t say a word, but there’s a data point for you.”
Stanford’s VR lab has become a hot spot to visit among top tech execs recently. Mark Zuckerberg famously visited the lab before Facebook purchased VR company Oculus.
Tim Cook hinted that Apple is interested in virtual reality during the company’s latest earning call. Asked whether he thought VR was just a niche product, Cook said he thinks it’s really cool and has some interesting applications.
In addition, Apple has made some big VR hires recently, including Doug Bowman, who specializes in VR user interfaces and other interactions.
A secret team of Apple employees has been building VR headsets for months now. Some of the first prototypes reportedly take inspiration from Oculus’ immersion system, while other ideas use augmented reality similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens.
It will likely be a few years before Apple unveils its VR product (if it ever does) but Bailenson told the Journal that’s just fine, and that most companies will wait and see how VR starts to play out.
Source: The Wall Street Journal