Jobs’ Mob is entering the field well behind everyone else, but has hired leading a virtual reality expert, Doug Bowman.
Bowman is a computer science professor at Virginia Tech and has announced he was taking a sabbatical.
Bowman works at the school's Center for Human-Computer Interaction and his work focussed primarily on 3D user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments.
He will have crossed Apple’s path through working with Disney Imagineering. He is also the lead author of the book 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice.
Jobs’ Mob has suddenly realised that Virtual Reality is something it should be getting into. It recently bought expression analysis startup, Emotient, to boost its investment strategy into augmented reality or virtual reality. Apple acquired augmented reality startup Metaio in May 2015 and followed it up with the acquisition of real-time motion capture firm, Faceshift, in September last year.
It has also been filing of several patents for VR products including 3D hyper reality displays, video goggles and motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS.
It should have been a no brainer for a gizmo maker like Apple, but for some reason it has fallen a long way behind everyone else. Others in the industry will tell you that it takes years to get technology to a workable decent level even if you can, as a late arrival, copy everyone else’s ideas.
The market for VR and AR is still small and Apple would have to create an eco-system of software similar to what it did with the iPhone. The difference is that iPhone apps are lot simpler to write.
No doubt in five years Cook will stand up wearing a super, cool, VR or AR Google Glass clone and claim he invented it. If Apple or Cook are still here.