As Apple shows interest in AR/VR, PlayStation VR's strong start suggests price beats performance

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The latest --?and more affordable -- high-profile entrant into the emerging virtual reality space, PlayStation VR, is off to a successful start, suggesting consumers are more interested in advanced VR technology if it's available in a simple and economical product.




Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had repeatedly expressed interest in both virtual reality and augmented reality, stating that he sees potential in both. But while he said VR has some "interesting applications" --?like games, as the PlayStation VR provides -- Cook sees more opportunities in AR, and his company continues to invest accordingly.

As Apple invests, current market players HTC Vive and Facebook's Oculus Rift have seen their corner of the market shaken up by PlayStation VR. New research from SuperData, as publicized by The Information< suggests the newly launched PlayStation VR will sell 740,000 units by the end of 2015, handily outpacing 450,000 for the Vive and 355,000 for the Oculus Rift.

PlayStation VR officially launched in October starting at $399, and is compatible with the sub-$300 PlayStation 4 game console, of which Sony has already sold millions. In contrast, more powerful Vive and Rift headsets cost hundreds of dollars more, and require expensive Windows PCs that can run well over $1,000.

On the lower end of the market, Samsung sells the Gear VR headset for $100, and Google's Daydream is priced at $79, though both require compatible smartphones and do not offer the same level of performance as PlayStation VR. Even Apple's iPhone can support low-end VR apps with affordable accessories like Google Cardboard.

In a sense, PlayStation VR occupies something of a middle ground --?more affordable than high-end PC virtual reality, but also more capable than cheap smartphone-based versions.




In uncharacteristic comments about his company's future product plans, Cook has admitted that Apple is "doing a lot of things" in the augmented reality space, calling both it and virtual reality "incredibly interesting."

While virtual reality can transport users to entirely new worlds, augmented reality integrates cameras and sensors to blur the lines between the real world and a virtual one. In Cook's view, augmented reality could eventually amplify human contact.

Augmented reality can be thought of as a layer of digital information overlaid onto the physical world. Advanced versions of the immersive technology use specialized transparent displays, though developers working within contemporary hardware constraints have created effective analogs using smartphone cameras and displays. Niantic's hit game Pok?mon Go, available for iOS, is one such example.




Though Apple has yet to outline an official AR strategy, the company is making strategic AR segment purchases like last year's acquisition of motion capture specialist Faceshift and German AR firm Metaio. The company is also developing supporting tech in-house, as evidence by a growing portfolio of AR/VR patents like transparent displays, iPhone-powered virtual reality systems, advanced computer vision tech and more.

Piper Jaffray analyst and AR/VR proponent Gene Munster has predicted that virtual and augmented reality applications and accessories could become part of the official "Made for iPhone" licensing program within the next few years.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Shocking. Who knew that mainstream adoption of a new technology only comes after prices come down--especially for discretionary purchases like entertainment.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,203member
    Shocking. Who knew that mainstream adoption of a new technology only comes after prices come down--especially for discretionary purchases like entertainment.
    And especially for tech gimmicks that require wearing ungainly objects on your face...  
  • Reply 3 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 3,395member

    Wearing a head set in the privacy of your bed room is one thing, but wide scale usage is not what everyone thinks it will be. This is why Tim keeps saying it could be interesting technology, but apple has yet to jump on the bandwagon.

    Think 3D TV how many people bought those and still wear and use the required 3D glasses.

    Geeks and Techie love VR headsets but the average Joe and Jane think those who wear this stuff are antisocial and will instagram you into shameville as quickly as they can take your picture and post it so the world can see how ridiculous you look moving your head around and reaching into the air grabbing imaginary things.

    edited November 2016
  • Reply 4 of 16
    maestro64 said:

    Wearing a head set in the privacy of your bed room is one thing, but wide scale usage is not what everyone thinks it will be. This is why Tim keeps saying it could be interesting technology, but apple has yet to jump on the bandwagon.

    Think 3D TV how many people bought those and still wear and use the required 3D glasses.

    Geeks and Techie love VR headsets but the average Joe and Jane think those who wear this stuff are antisocial and will instagram you into shameville as quickly as they can take your picture and post it so the world can see how ridiculous you look moving your head around and reaching into the air grabbing imaginary things.

    Not really. The PlayStation VR is meant for in home use. Everyone that has come over to my place young and old, techie and non techie love it and say how much fun it is. 
    gatorguy
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Not just price vs performance for PS VR. A lot has to do with brand recognition as well. I know several people who bought a VR headset for Christmas and most went with the Playstation VR because they knew and trusted the brand when it comes to video game hardware/software. HTC, Samsung, Oculus are not exactly household names in the gaming sector. 
    gatorguydysamoriadamn_its_hotjony0
  • Reply 6 of 16
    This article makes the assumption that PSVR has lower performance. In my experience PSVR performs much better in key areas: it sets up immediately and just works. The amount of wrangling it takes to make other VR systems work is massive compared to PSVR which is much closer to Apple's simple and user friendly style.
    Also PSVR maintains a higher frame rate of 120 frames per second using reprojected motion interpolation. So it outperforms other systems in multiple serious ways.
    jony0
  • Reply 7 of 16
    tmaytmay Posts: 1,719member
    This article makes the assumption that PSVR has lower performance. In my experience PSVR performs much better in key areas: it sets up immediately and just works. The amount of wrangling it takes to make other VR systems work is massive compared to PSVR which is much closer to Apple's simple and user friendly style.
    Also PSVR maintains a higher frame rate of 120 frames per second using reprojected motion interpolation. So it outperforms other systems in multiple serious ways.
    Is there any kind of audio tracking in the VR world; i.e., can I use audio in the VR source and head movement to locate an audio source in the visual spectrum?
  • Reply 8 of 16
    How can Apple even hope to enter the world of VR with such weak GPU options on their computers? 90% of Apple's desktops computers contain mobile GPUs. That's just freaking pathetic and certainly not up to the task. The Windows PC world is overflowing with high-end GPUs and Apple can't even touch those computers. Apple isn't even building computers that allow upgrades which is absolutely disappointing. I'm not particularly interested in VR but I think it could be a nice thing for those who are interested in it. I'd prefer augmented reality as I believe it could be of some use to me and probably won't require high-power computers.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 9 of 16
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 3,395member
    maestro64 said:

    Wearing a head set in the privacy of your bed room is one thing, but wide scale usage is not what everyone thinks it will be. This is why Tim keeps saying it could be interesting technology, but apple has yet to jump on the bandwagon.

    Think 3D TV how many people bought those and still wear and use the required 3D glasses.

    Geeks and Techie love VR headsets but the average Joe and Jane think those who wear this stuff are antisocial and will instagram you into shameville as quickly as they can take your picture and post it so the world can see how ridiculous you look moving your head around and reaching into the air grabbing imaginary things.


    Not really. The PlayStation VR is meant for in home use. Everyone that has come over to my place young and old, techie and non techie love it and say how much fun it is. 

    I guess you have not see the new Google pixel ads on TV with people in public using them.

    I not saying people do not find it interesting to use, but it not going to be like a cell phone or other high volume consumer products. Yes, I have gone to people house who had 3D TVs and watch and grew board of it quickly as most people do. But you do not get since you one of those people who do not understand the social aspect of technology. BTW I worked in the Video equipment delivery business for a long time and played with 3D TV long before it hit the general population and decide then it fails the social aspect of technology and would eventually underwhelm the world and not sell as many as people thought. I also made the same prediction about Google glasses, interesting technology, but fails on social aspects.

    Sitting in a room with a headset on is socially unacceptable and tend to be rude to those around you.

  • Reply 10 of 16
    I think VR has its place. Training and home entertainment. Maybe even arcade type setups with some privacy for general public. I have Oculus Rift and it is awesome. But many who have used it complain of not feeling good after using it for short periods of time. I haven't experienced that yet. The biggest hold back will be application support. It is only as good as the devs that make the content. I really like the potential of this but even more so the potential of AR. The hurdle being the glasses, goggles or lenses needed to make it work. Could make it work in cars via the windshield glass of course...
  • Reply 11 of 16
    It is not just price. The Playstation VR is far easier to setup and get playing than any PC VR system. It is also far more comfortable to wear especially if you have glasses. The big question is whether Sony can line up some AAA games for the PSVR. As it stands there is nothing I want to play for more than an hour at a time. The PSVR needs an open world game like GTA V, Watchdogs 2 or Skyrim.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    grangerfx said:
    It is not just price. The Playstation VR is far easier to setup and get playing than any PC VR system. It is also far more comfortable to wear especially if you have glasses. The big question is whether Sony can line up some AAA games for the PSVR. As it stands there is nothing I want to play for more than an hour at a time. The PSVR needs an open world game like GTA V, Watchdogs 2 or Skyrim.
    There are a few good titles out there now. Ubisoft's Eagle Flight is really awesome. It's my favorite game so far. Batman and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood are both really good as well. 

    EDIT: forgot to add Robinson The Journey is an open world game. 
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Apple once was the creative content leaders.  As a company that deals with 3D rendering and visualization, how does Apple expect us to be working on AR/VR when they don't provide us with the tools.  The VR manufactures said they would develop for the Mac when Apple builds machines that are capable of VR.   As it stands their 3+ year old $10 000.00 MacPro's are not even good enough.

    I guess when Apple decides that they want to be in AR/VR it will just happen like a light switch.   They are already years behind in hardware and us Mac content creators are even more behind than that because we can't even begin to experiment on this stuff.  Apple has already lost the AR/VR race and they didn't even get started yet.  But its nice to hear that they "expressed interest" and think its the future.   They're brilliant over there.


    dysamoria
  • Reply 14 of 16
    While it's true that through a certain lens Apple does lag in certain aspects of video hardware development, I wouldn't count them out just because their laptops and iMacs are not gaming machines. 

    AR/VR are a different all together and Apple have done superbly well in the mobile developement sector, which would be a welcome contribution to VR and is basically necessary for VR. 

    This has nothing to do with VR, but If you want gaming, TB3 will let you add whatever card and port option you want. It's just now they have a standard to where they can really simplify their machines and ditch the myriad of ports. Apple has pursued the universal connector for a long time. It's quite elegant, if not shocking once the rest of the ports are stripped.

    Would I rather they put a Nvdidia 10 series in their iMacs? Probably. In their laptops? Maybe. But Apple is are hardly behind in hardware development because they chose different characteristics and performance in their gpu's. 
  • Reply 15 of 16
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,203member
    How can Apple even hope to enter the world of VR with such weak GPU options on their computers? 90% of Apple's desktops computers contain mobile GPUs. That's just freaking pathetic and certainly not up to the task. The Windows PC world is overflowing with high-end GPUs and Apple can't even touch those computers. Apple isn't even building computers that allow upgrades which is absolutely disappointing. I'm not particularly interested in VR but I think it could be a nice thing for those who are interested in it. I'd prefer augmented reality as I believe it could be of some use to me and probably won't require high-power computers.
    That's probably exactly why Apple is dabbling in AR. They know about their low powered GPUs and heat issues on Macs.
    TroyR
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Though it will never be an Apple thing, I am happy for Sony's VR product.  Hopefully they will have enough of a headstart before Samsung shamelessly copies them.
    watto_cobra
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