This afternoon during Apple’s financial Q1 2016 earnings call, Tim Cook was asked one question about VR. When asked about whether or not virtual reality devices in 2016 were a niche product, Tim Cook had the following to say: “I don’t think [VR] is a niche, it’s really cool and has some interesting applications.” That’s it. Does this mean Apple is investing in virtual reality hardware and applications? Not necessarily, but it certainly doesn’t discount that idea.
Analysts aplenty have suggested that Apple couldn’t possibly NOT be looking at virtual reality hardware and software at the moment, regardless of their potential interest in creating any content or content consumption devices.
It’d be a new sort of move for Apple to jump in on the virtual reality market before a solid ground had been laid by competing companies. Smartphones already existed when the iPhone was launched, and Apple ran away with the market. Laptop computers certainly existed before the MacBook and the MacBook Air – and Apple TV wasn’t launched until well after other smart TV set-top boxes were already on the market.
Samsung has the only consumer-level virtual reality headset on the market today with the Samsung Gear VR, while Facebook-owned Oculus will launch the PC-level Oculus Rift this year.
Google is casting the widest net with software, providing the world free virtual reality hardware with their Cardboard initiative.
Apple couldn’t possibly be thinking of skipping out on this extremely interesting and potentially valuable party while the biggest names in tech are all very clearly investing time and effort into devices and programs of all sorts.
Tim Cook didn’t just confirm that – he just gave our hunches a bit more of a nudge in the right direction.