Apple Inc. , until now was known to have one secretive team – ‘Project Titan’ – working on self-driving cars. But, a new report from FT claims the iPhone maker has created one more secretive team to work on virtual and augmented reality products.
Massive team for Apple VR
As per FT, Apple has created a huge team of virtual and augmented reality experts, and have developed prototypes of headsets to challenge Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Microsoft’s Hololens. Such a move comes amid Apple’s search to lower its dependence on the iPhone.
This secretive unit includes hundreds of staff that the firm gained from well-planned acquisitions, and the employees poached from tech firms working on this next-gen tech such as Microsoft and camera start-up Lytro, the report says citing people familiar with the plans.
Apple’s latest acquisition in the area is Flyby Media – an augmented reality start-up that allows “mobile devices “see” the world around them,” the report says. The start-up helped Google in the developing software for the Internet firms Project Tango.
Other acquisitions from Apple Include; Metaio – a firm that develops software for augmented reality apps; Faceshift – a German firm with technology that scans facial features and creates animated avatars; PrimeSense – a Tel Aviv-based firm that helped Microsoft in motion-tracking technology for original Xbox 360 Kinect interface.
For several months now, Apple Inc. has been creating prototypes of possible headset configurations. Previously, FT reported that the firm has hired Doug Bowman – a lading VR expert. Earlier this week, CEO Tim Cook did gave hints of foraying in this lucrative segment. “It is really cool and has some interesting applications,” Cook said.
Apple may use VR in its secretive car?
Separately, there are talks that the augmented reality may be used in the Apple’s rumored car, which is expected to debut in 2019. Citing unnamed sources, the FT said that Apple has a separate group of AR/VR people developing apps for the car.
It can be expected that the augmented reality screen could be connected in the windscreen helping drivers with mapping, place identification and also safety information. The screen can also be used for showing in-car entertainment options and communications.
Such a concept is not entirely new. In 2014, Jaguar unveiled “360-degree Virtual Urban Windscreen,” for its Land Rover. The screen showed safety graphics such as places to avoid along with optimum braking areas. But, at that time, the car firm said the technology won’t be ready for the production for 10 years.
On Friday, Apple Inc. shares closed up 3.45% at $97.34. Year to date, the stock is down almost 8% while in the last one-year, it is down almost 14%.