Field of view: Apple could still be working on a mobile VR headset for gamers

Your weekly roundup of all the VR & AR news, games and recommendations

Lock up your VR headsets, folks, because it's time for another edition of Field of view — the place where we round up the latest happenings in VR and AR.

It's been a busy week in the space, as we reviewed the HTC Vive Pro and pined for standalone VR, while our reporter Husain continued his VR diary and embarked on a quest for inner peace.

But what else has been going on? Well, read on below for all the news you may have missed, as well as a couple of recommendations on what to watch and play in the VR and AR realms.

Read this: Get your news here

Tweaked Apple patent hints at mobile VR headset

A couple of weeks ago on Field of view, we highlighted the changes Apple has been making to its laundry list of patents surrounding VR and AR. Those tweaks included the description of a mixed reality system, and now the company is seemingly exploring an iPhone-enabled VR headset with an emphasis on gaming.

Patently Apple is once again shedding light on the situation, with the updated patent actually showcasing a headset design uncovered in 2010. However, the wording of the filing has recently been changed, emphasising the headset's capability as a gaming tool. There's no specifics regarding how such a system would work, but the image below suggests the iPhone would slot in and allow users to play games using its display.

Field of view: Apple could be pursuing a mobile VR headset

As with any of the small tweaks we've seen to Apple's patents recently, it's important to keep things in perspective. Apple isn't exactly exclusive with its interests in AR and VR; from the patents we've seen over the past few years, the company is exploring pretty much every area of the technology. And while that means we do get a peek at what could theoritcally come to an Apple headset, it's inevitable that only a fraction of its exploits will be involved.

LG patent points to adjustable headset

Another patent, this time uncovered by Android Headlines, appears to show a VR headset from LG that features a display and focal lenses that can be adjusted.

The filing, which describes the design as a 'mobile terminal', details a system whereby external controls are able to adjust how the user views VR action. However, it's not completely clear whether this is a mobile VR headset or a standalone device, despite the image below suggesting that a smartphone could slot in to the front of the device, much like a Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard.

As far as the focal adjustments are concerned, the patent interestingly describes this as a way to prevent foreign objects, such as dust, from entering into the unit.

So, what does this mean? Well, if the purported headset is indeed dependent on a smartphone, it would mean that the practice of taking off the headset and manually adjusting where it sits in the dock could all be done through adjustable wheel at the top of the device. Not the biggest change that will ever come to the medium, granted, but one that would certainly improve the mobile VR experience.

Field of view: LG could be working on a mobile VR headset with adjustable lenses

Firefox extends its reality

Good news, Mozilla has announced that it's launching a service exclusively for AR and VR headsets.

Firefox Reality, the company says, will make use of mixed reality web standards and allow users to experience all the fun of VR without the hassle of having to install apps and experiences, or be restricted by platform exclusives.

We don't know yet when Firefox Reality will be making its way to headsets or AR, but Mozilla's R&D officer Sean White noted in a blog post that the HTC Vive Focus devices within the Vive Wave VR stable will be supported at launch. Qualcomm-powered devices, such as Daydream and Gear VR, and even Magic Leap's upcoming AR goggles, are also being worked on.

Jay and Silent Bob are coming to VR

Kevin Smith's cult characters Jay and Silent Bob are set to make a return, with STX Entertainment confirming that a VR series featuring the duo will land in mid-2018.

The show itself will be shot from the point of view of Silent Bob, played by Smith, as he follows Jason Mewes' Jay "through a string of idiotic adventures". Aside from that, though, it's not yet clear how the platform will be leveraged by Smith in order to create an immersive experience, but we do know that it will be launching on the Surreal channel, an app which can be used through the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Cardboard and Daydream platforms.

Facebook Spaces gets a makeover

Facebook is currently in hot water regarding its privacy standards, but the folks over at Menlo Park still managed to find time to give Facebook Spaces, its social VR app, a bit of an overhaul.

The company detailed the changes in a blog post, noting that a new avatar system and customisation tool will be rolling out and allowing users choose from hundreds of new options to create their virtual self.

Read this: Facebook Spaces is kooky and chaotic

That list includes new head shapes, facial features, hairstyles, as well as the option to vary your body type. As well as picking those features, you will also be able to adjust the size, angle and position of them, while the automatic avatar creator (which uses your Facebook photos to produce an avatar) has also been given a makeover.

Whether you choose to make your own or let Facebook's machine learning algorithm create your virtual equivalent, we look forward to seeing monstrous creations.

Watch this: Putting with ARKit

It's the week of The Masters in Augusta, which means next week every golf course across the world will be filled with lapsed enthusiasts struck down by veritable golf fever.

And while you may not have lost your natural talent off the tee, your short game is probably suffering due to your bi-yearly golf exploits. But that could all be rectified through the power of AR, with Twitter user Ryan Engle sharing how ARKit can be used to cheat the greens.

Read next: The best golf trackers and swing analysers

We've seen plenty of examples of ARKit essentially becoming a glorified tape measure since its launch last summer, but this appears to be taking things to the next level by taking two central points and measuring the environment around them in order to give users a putting line.

Play this: L.A. Noire VR Case Files

Pfft, sure, it may have been originally released seven years ago, and came to HTC Vive headsets back in December, but now L.A. Noire VR Case Files is available for Oculus Rift users. A stripped back version of the original title, the game focuses on seven fresh cases designed specifically for the platform.

What are you waiting for, Sherlock, go solve some damn crimes.


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