Munster: Apple likely to fold VR into 'Made for iPhone' program within 2 years

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
Following up on a recent flurry of Apple acquisitions and key hires from the augmented reality/virtual reality field, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes the iPhone maker plans to pivot on iOS in a bid for the mixed reality space within the next two years.


Source: Microsoft


Munster, in a research note obtained by AppleInsider, notes a basic timeline of recent purchases and hires suggests iOS ecosystem support might be ripe for launch as soon as 2018. A recent spate of acquisitions and hires points to a significant undertaking, with serious assets earmarked specifically for AR/VR research and development.

To his point, the analyst said a search on LinkedIn revealed at least 141 Apple employees with a background in AR. Put into perspective, LinkedIn shows 425 people with similar experience working at Microsoft, while 267 are at Google. Microsoft is currently moving ahead with its HoloLens project, a Windows-based goggle-type device that shows promise, at least in controlled demonstrations. Incidentally, Apple poached a lead HoloLens audio engineer last August.

Of particular interest is so-called mixed reality wearables, or basically advanced optics that use embedded cameras, sensors and other components to meld realistic holographic imagery with real life objects. Apple's existing stash of IP, gained through R&D and strategic acquisitions like 2013's PrimeSense buy, covers early stage computer vision tech capable of processing motion tracking operations and basic relative location calculations.

Alongside internal development, and depending on how the field shakes out, Apple could rapidly evolve its program with more acquisitions. Munster throws out a few names in his report, including Magic Leap, Movidius, Occipital and Pelican Imaging.

"We believe 10 years from now Generation Z will find reality inefficient," Munster writes. "We believe the concept of an 'inefficient reality' is evident through smartphone use today -- the precursor to mixed reality -- offering users the ability to find more information as needed."

There will be a natural progression from current cutting-edge personal technology -- smartphones -- to AR/VR devices, which could see mass adoption as wearable devices priced in line with modern handsets. Indeed, Munster believes Apple is currently looking at VR like it does Apple Watch, which is to say a peripheral for iPhone. The analyst does not see the company releasing its own hardware, however, at least not in the near term.

Over the next year, third-party firms should continue with experimental AR/VR deployments based on iPhones and iPads, building their own solutions onto the lattice of current resources, the analyst says. By 2018, however, Apple might be ready to offer developers an official framework for sanctioned hardware solutions as part of the MFi program, a move that would take a page out of Samsung's playbook. The Korean tech giant currently fields the smartphone-powered Gear VR platform.

There is abundant evidence that Apple is conducting AR/VR systems research behind closed doors, including numerous filed and granted patents covering virtual displays, augmented reality and computer vision. Last year alone the company purchased German AR firm Metaio, real-time motion capture specialist Faceshift and computer vision startup Perceptio.

More recently, the head of Stanford's VR lab said visits from Apple researchers are becoming increasingly common. Related to scholarly research, a report in January said Apple snapped up Doug Bowman, a leader in the field of immersive VR.

These initial steps are expected to be the first in a path toward phasing out iPhone in favor of a mixed reality headset or similar device. That reality, however, is not expected for at least 15 years, Munster says.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,627member
    Why does this clown Munster think he is even remotely qualified to even GUESS about about Apple is going to do next.  This jerk should just stick to doing whatever job he is supposed to do and less about being a wannabe fortune-teller.
    calilord amhranlatifbpjustadcomicsSpamSandwichpmzcornchipargonaut
  • Reply 2 of 17
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I wish all the predictions would just end.

    Apple VR will be NOTHING like we imagine. If we even see it.
    palomine
  • Reply 3 of 17
    I think what analysts frequently forget is that Apple has a mac business - a business which is driven in large part by creative media & production. One doesn't need to jump to grand conclusions to explain their investments. For example, even if we cut away the iPhone from Apple, they'd still need to invest in AR/VR for relevancy in this emerging media space. We'd naturally expect Apple to have authoring tools for AR/VR to match their current media offerings, as well as relevance for their TV offerings where currently available 3D and future AR/VR will naturally bond.
    calicornchip
  • Reply 4 of 17
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Augmented would be very nice, pan along a set of stores and have various info pop up on the display, or in historic neighborhoods architectural notes or whatever. 
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,604member
    Ah, Gene…

    Still throwing woolly predictions at the wall, hoping something sticks. 

    I'll file this one away for safe keeping, next to the Apple television set prediction. 
    quadra 610SpamSandwichcornchip
  • Reply 6 of 17
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Ah, Gene…

    Still throwing woolly predictions at the wall, hoping something sticks. 

    I'll file this one away for safe keeping, next to the Apple television set prediction. 
    There have been stories of Apple and the Stanford VR labs so this is less wooly than some. 
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,604member
    jfc1138 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Ah, Gene…

    Still throwing woolly predictions at the wall, hoping something sticks. 

    I'll file this one away for safe keeping, next to the Apple television set prediction. 
    There have been stories of Apple and the Stanford VR labs so this is less wooly than some. 
    Oh, I'm sure there's something going on, and I'm also sure that Gene doesn't have a clue what it is. The stuff mentioned here has been in the public domain for months. He's just read the blog sites and come up with a couple of obvious scenarios. I can't believe these people are paid for this. 

    Oh, and in two years' time, when Apple release something that he didn't catch in his guess net,  he'll write some crap about how the project was suddenly cancelled due to technical difficulties. 
    edited February 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 17
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,070member
    I sure hope Apple work out how to project black before they release a headset! 
    Reality isn't going to be to augmented like the images suggest till someone works that out. 
  • Reply 9 of 17
    sflocal said:
    Why does this clown Munster think he is even remotely qualified to even GUESS about about Apple is going to do next.  This jerk should just stick to doing whatever job he is supposed to do and less about being a wannabe fortune-teller.
    You do realize that his job is to be a fortune teller right???
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 10 of 17
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,415member
    So...Apple is going to make "Google Glass" now?  lol
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Honestly, I just can't wait to play Land's End on an iPhone-powered Apple VR set. It was one of the most amazing digital experiences yet, and I hate to admit it was offered by Samesung  :s
  • Reply 12 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,589member
    I'd say if Apple does AR it'd be I'd presume heavily entwined with Apple Car.
    justadcomicscornchip
  • Reply 13 of 17
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    I think  I should become an analyst.

    I can pull crap out of my butt.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 14 of 17
    Remember the "psychic" that Johnny Carson used to regularly have on his show. She also was wrong about every single prediction she made, but Johnny kept bringing her back because she was so entertaining. Gene can't even manage to be entertaining.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Hope they do a better job with integrating these devices into MFi than they did with hearing aids. 

    My my mom, 83 and on a fixed pension, bought an iPhone 6 and trialed two different MFi hearing aid brands before settling on ReSound Linx2 6 months ago (the other was Starkey's model.)

    Since then, she has had continuous problems with connectivity. 

    We we think the iPhone isn't able to manage the Bluetooth connection to her Apple Watch and hearing aid (previously she had two Tiles installed but we de activated those to some small improvement) and we unpaired the hearing aid last week (the control panel function to select speaker was tenuous, given each time the BT dropped and reconnected, it went to the aid with its in and out connectivity.)

    Definitely not ready for prime time. 


    cornchip
  • Reply 16 of 17
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Memo 2 Munster: 
    Before AAPL gets into VR it would behoove the company to deliver on its undelivered Beats, TV, Watch, Pay, Music, promises. Additionally, just because OS X and IOS are free now I urge AAPL to please stop treating them as an afterthought. I must agree with Walt Mossberg.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    sflocal said:
    Why does this clown Munster think he is even remotely qualified to even GUESS about about Apple is going to do next.  This jerk should just stick to doing whatever job he is supposed to do and less about being a wannabe fortune-teller.
    While I agree with your sentiment, I must point out that Gene's job is to make a big swirl of rabid mouth froth to flip tables and get clicks. He's actually really good at it. 
Sign In or Register to comment.