Apple has recently been awarded a patent for a VR headset that uses iPhone which serves as a virtual reality display. The headset is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR, Facebook’s Oculus VR or the Google cardboard.
The patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is titled “Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display” which is described as head-mounted display system to which a portable electronic device having a screen such as a smartphone, could be physically coupled. The iPhone mounted in the headset would communicate with it through connectors and act as a virtual reality display in front of the wearer’s eyes. According to the patent, coupling the iPhone with the headset “temporarily integrates the separate devices into a single unit.” The gadget would have an optional remote to control the VR experience.
Although granted recently, Apple had filed the patent application way back in 2008 which shows that the Cupertino giant was considering the VR headset project long back, even before the Gear VR or Google Cardboard projects were announced. Apple’s VR headset would work in a similar manner. You could insert your iPhone or iPod inside the headset frame and enjoy watching videos. The headset offers a picture-in-picture feature that allows you to watch your surroundings at the same time.
Various additional features could be incorporated into the headset such as additional memory; spare batteries; controls such as buttons, switches, dials, touch pads or screens; camera, antenna, receiver, microphone, speakers, cooling system and much more. The headset and the portable device would extend their capabilities to one another enhancing the user experience.
If Apple does decide to build its own VR headset, it will no doubt be an excellent one and would provide tough competition to other similar gadgets out there. On the other hand, although it has applied for patents, Apple hasn’t shown much interest in building such a device yet.