Jony Ive reportedly clashed with Apple exec over forthcoming VR/AR headset

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Jony Ive
Jony Ive, who left Apple last year, reportedly had strong views on Apple's VR strategy.
Photo: Vanity Fair/YouTube

Apple’s VR and AR headset ambitions fueled a clash between Apple Technology Development Group executive Mike Rockwell and former design boss Jony Ive, who left Apple last year, a new Bloomberg report claims.

The article traces the development of an Apple VR and AR headset to late 2015. It claims Apple dedicated up to 1,000 engineers to work on a project aiming to be the first major new product since the Apple Watch. However, the project has been subject to disagreements about its direction.

Future Apple devices could be controlled with ultra-precise eye-tracking

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Eye closeup
Could this shed light on Apple's AR headset plans?
Photo: v2osk on Unsplash

Appropriately enough at a time we’re worried about touching any surface without immediately washing our hands, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published an eye-tracking patent application from Apple describing a method of letting users control an interface with nothing more than a simple glance.

The application possibly sheds light on one of the features of Apple’s rumored head-mounted display for augmented and virtual reality.

Apple’s possible prototype controller for upcoming AR headset leaks out

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apple-ar-vr-headset-controller
No, this likely isn't the final version that will ship.
Photo: MacRumors

Apple is testing out its rumored AR/VR headset internally using a generic controller similar in design to that of the HTC Vive, a report published Thursday by MacRumors suggests.

The report notes that, “given the basic design of the controller,” it is likely for internal testing only. A finished version is likely to be a lot more, well, Apple in its design. However, it’s enough to let Apple engineers get to grips with the technology which might allow it to launch its rumored AR/VR headset in 2021 or 2022.

Apple proposes VR glove that lets you feel virtual textures

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Apple’s proposed VR glove
A proposed Apple VR glove lets you feel the virtual items you see.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple engineers laid the groundwork for a pair of gloves that would let users feel objects displayed by virtual reality or augmented reality.

The idea of gloves with haptic feedback isn’t new, but a newly-received patent shows Apple continues to put considerable research and development effort into cutting-edge VR and AR.

Popular VLC video player is getting AirPlay support

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VLC AirPlay
VLC will make it easy to stream to Apple TV from anywhere.
Photo: VideoLAN

CES 2019 bugPopular open-source video player VLC is getting AirPlay support “in about a month.” VideoLan, the team behind it, also plans to make it easier for users to switch to VLC from iTunes.

The confirmation comes just as VLC celebrated a staggering 3 billion downloads — around a quarter of which came from mobile devices.

Apple buys startup that builds AR headset displays

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Apple glasses
Apple AR glasses just became more likely.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Apple just dropped a big clue that it’s planning to make a pair of augmented reality glasses with its latest acquisition.

The company confirmed this week that it purchased a Colorado-based startup called Akonia that’s focused on making lenses for wearable headset displays and it could help Apple create thin, transparent smart glass lenses with vibrant full colors.

Popular YouTuber helps Apple develop in-car VR entertainment

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Mark Rober
Apple has some fascinating (if dangerous) research projects underway.
Photo: Mark Rober

Apple has recruited popular science YouTuber Mark Rober to work as part of its top secret special projects group, developing a VR on-board entertainment system for self-driving cars.

Rober has been working with Apple for the past several years, although he has kept news of Apple’s identity secret. In a Reddit AmA, he described it as a “large tech company in the Bay Area.” His name was revealed as part of several patent applications Apple has recently filed.

macOS Mojave adds support for HTC Vive Pro VR headset

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Mojave
macOS Mojave makes VR easier than ever on Mac.
Photo: Apple

Who says Macs can’t do virtual reality? When macOS Mojave rolls out this fall, it will include plug-and-play support for HTC’s latest Vive Pro VR headset.

Apple has been working closely with HTC and Valve to make this possible. Vive Pro support isn’t yet available with the first macOS Mojave beta, but it is expected to be made available to developers and testers in a future beta release.

Apple VR headset might sport two 8K displays

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VR
Will Apple be the company that finally makes VR cool?
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple’s next big thing could be a virtual reality headset.

According to a new report, the iPhone-maker is planning to launch its own headset in 2020 that can handle both AR and VR technology. And in true Apple fashion, it’ll pack some innovations that could finally bring VR into the mainstream.