Technology is the perfect breeding ground for innovation. Rumors have begun swirling that Apple is to release their VR headset in 2022. The headset is reported to contain a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner to interact with the direct environment and six lenses. Allegedly, a JP Morgan analyst indicates that the device could be available as early as Q1 2022 and that the high-end consumer will be the initial target market. But what does the foray into consumer VR tell us about the future of the technology?
Is Apple Taking a Bite Out of VR?
Apple is a formidable consumer brand. So, launching an accessible device – the bundle would reportedly cost $500+ (the very successful Apple headphone alternative AirPods alone are $159) – would take advantage of the consumer market for VR. The technology has been hinted at before and there are countless examples of people being interested in it.
So, a consumer foray into VR tech could result in the technology being more widely used – which could be our giant leap towards the future of design and accessibility in our direct environment. If Apple do launch such a headset, it won’t be long before their competitors also launch similar products.
Virtual Reality’s Fits and Starts
Virtual reality didn’t break out as much as people expected back in 2012. The Oculus Rift VR hardware was deemed by many as too expensive. The headset cost $599, while the necessary software Touch cost $199, and the computer that would run the technology would be at least $1,000 or more.
So, deploying nearly $2,000 on new technology was off-limits for many. As the take up was so stagnated, the technology itself was halted. Some argued that you couldn’t actually do that much with the Oculus Rift. Nevertheless, they persevered and launched the Oculus Quest in 2019. And, Valve was seen as a major competitor to the Oculus Rift when it was launched.
But fast forward almost a decade and VR seems to be coming back into vogue. The success of smartphone AR programs and games such as 2019’s Zombie Shooter VR and 2015’s InCell VR showed what the technology could do when it was more accessible.
Indeed, Pokémon Go in 2016 proved just how popular the blend of real and digital was when people who had never touched the original games became avid players. So, it became clear that VR technology was not only something that people could dabble with for gaming, but that could be used to change how things were done.
Virtual Reality and the Built Environment
Some are suggesting that, as we move towards the future, VR will be incorporated into the built world around us. Hyper-real experiences created through virtual reality will be used to augment our direct environments. This would mean that going anywhere would take advantage of both the direct environment and what technology could do to enhance it.
For instance, trying on clothes in a store could be enhanced through technology that allows you to see what they look like without actually touching them. This could then be converted to solely being online.
For instance, we are already experiencing VR property tours at real estate agents such as The Oppenheim Group in LA. Not only does this benefit the customer, who doesn’t need to attend the actual showing if they don’t want to, but it means that the agent can expand their potential customer audience. For the range of new builds touted in both the US and UK – Boris Johnson promised 300,000 new homes while Biden is aiming for 1.5 million – using VR technology to sell homes before construction begins can streamline the process.
Explore this beautiful home in West Hartford listed by @megtherealtor! 🏠 Our virtual tour allows you to experience this open house 24/7! 😱🙌🏼#vexperience #3dtour #virtualreality #vr #virtualtour #experience #matterport #business #realtor #openhouse #sellyourhousetoday pic.twitter.com/aumN8Yfgg2
— 360 Properties (@360propertiesio) March 8, 2018
Industries Embracing Tech for Innovation
Many industries have already upgraded their current output in order to reflect a blended world of virtual reality and direct environment. For example, the Joan of Arc Museum in Rouen, France not only includes the standard museum fare but allows visitors to participate in an immersive experience. Through technology, guests can take part in one of Joan of Arc’s 1431 trials.
In entertainment, FOX Sports launched a customizable app in 2020 that allowed viewers of baseball to change the camera angles they saw and see live stats and information alongside the game. Elsewhere, the online casino industry has harnessed live casino technology to enhance the playing experience. As Betway shows with the range of live casino games such as Real Baccarat and Real Roulette, players can interact with real dealers; thus helping to create a more immersive experience. Facebook Portal, the smart video calling service, released in 2018, connects with Amazon’s Alexa voice-operated services to then inform targeted ads. The initial service allows users to video chat with friends and family, while then being delivered relevant and informative advertisements.
By embracing technology and integrating the latest in augmented and virtual reality technology alongside traditional methods of engagement, we can get a better look at what the future of blended technologies may look like. Moreover, as businesses in each sector launch something tech-focused, their competitors will strive to match this, therefore proliferating the rise of technology in each sector.
The world is constantly changing and technology both enables these changes and informs them. VR technology is considered colloquially to be the final frontier of the futuristic world we pictured. It would enable us to better engage with many industries. The capabilities of VR would help streamline our lives and also provide us with a world of entertainment we could only previously just imagine. Regardless of the accuracy of the headset rumors, the idea that VR could be accessible to consumers in such a way only further proves that it is a form of technology here to innovate.