If a freshly granted patent is anything to go by, though, the Cupertino giant may not be completely content to sit on the sidelines of the virtual realm.
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The latest filing is for a remote controlled head-mounted display system to work with an iPhone, though the language avoids explicitly mentioning VR as the main function for the setup. This would appear to be a simple sidestep around the issue in order to remain as broad as possible.
And while the images initially appear to show a design along the same lines of Samsung's Gear VR or Google Daydream — in which a smartphone clips into the unit — the patent describes a scenario whereby an iPhone would be integrated into the headgear through a port (or an alternative connection) in order to aid functionality between the pair.
The design leaves the iPhone inside the unit, with the action controlled through a remote control (reminiscent of the old iPod click wheel) or touch panels on the side of the headset.
Of course, while the thought of this is all very exciting, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no secret of his preference for augmented reality, which makes the possibility of a VR headset increasingly unlikely.
If you want to remain optimistic, though, we've consistently seen patents linked to the world of virtual reality from Apple. In fact, this design is part of another patent from 2010, and another version of a head-mounted display surfaced that was rejected by the USPTO back in 2014.
Whichever way the company is leaning, expect more developments towards the end of the year when the tentatively named iPhone 8 drops.
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