Apple wins patent for wireless head-mounted display using iPhone

18th of February 2015

Apple has been awarded a patent for a headset that slots the iPhone in front of the eyes, sparking speculation that it might be preparing to compete in the rapidly developing virtual reality market with Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Cardboard.The patent for a wireless “head-mounted display” which could be used to “view media” follows a string of job advertisements on Apple’s website seeking engineers with experience in developing virtual reality apps.In two job postings in November and again last week, Apple said it was seeking software engineers to “create high performance apps that integrate with virtual reality systems for prototyping and user testing”.Another recent pair of ads for “VR/AR programmers” sought candidates with “a proven track record in virtual and augmented reality” to “enable development of Apple’s next generation of products”.Further job postings invited applications from developers for “state of the art physics-based world simulation, visuals and virtual reality” with experience in developing for the Oculus Rift VR headset.Apple did not comment on the VR patent application or job ads.The patent award is the latest Apple development project to come to light after the Financial Times and others reported last week on the iPhone maker’s secret R&D lab devoted to automotive products that could lead to the eventual release of an electric car.However, Apple regularly researches new technologies which do not always result in a new product being launched.Apple is one of the few leading smartphone players that has not yet launched a product in the VR market, which has gained increased industry attention since Facebook’s $2bn acquisition of Oculus VR last year but has not yet seen mainstream consumer uptake.

Financial Times