Apple finally goes big on VR

The Mac has become the latest big platform to support virtual reality, with Apple confirming a new partnership with HTC Vive and SteamVR.

While SteamVR was the headline name at Apple’s WWDC showcase last night, compatibility with Oculus Rift and OSVR HDK 2.0 has also been confirmed. Other upcoming PC VR headsets should also work.

Mac support for Unity and Unreal is also incoming, which points to a larger-scale move to finally fully embrace video games within the Mac ecosystem. Existing owners will be given the ability to boost their old machine’s graphics power with the use of a new external GPU enclosure, with the AMD Radeon RX 580 confirmed.

A new Metal 2 graphics API is also on the way, which apparently offers a 10x performance boost over the current Metal API.

Leading VR companies are joining Apple to drive VR innovation on the Mac with features coming later this year — Valve is optimizing their SteamVR platform for MacOS and enabling connection of the HTC Vive headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to MacOS,” Apple said.

Vive added: Vive is driving the VR industry forward, and in just the last month alone, we have partnered with the world’s most prominent and innovative tech giants including Google, Intel and Apple, who are aligning their VR efforts around Vive.

We built Vive to be an open and always growing platform for VR. The Vive ecosystem is expanding every day through efforts including the more than 60 companies in our global Vive X accelerator program that are defining the future of VR technology, products like our Vive Tracker with new content and experiences for VR, and Viveport, our hardware agnostic content and distribution platform.

With partners like Apple, Google, Intel and dozens more, we will continue to make Vive the best VR platform for consumers, developers and enterprises alike.”

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