Apple hires virtual reality researcher

iPhone manufacturer Apple has to date remained conspicuous from the VR race, but that might be about to change.

The Financial Times reports that former Virginia Tech computer science professor Doug Bowman has joined the company. His previous research focused on three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments”.

Last year Bowman and a colleague received a $100k research grant from Microsoft for a Hololens project

The development follows a number of smartphone-based VR headset patent applications by Apple, as well as some VR-pointing acquisitions.

Google, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Valve, HTC and Facebook are just some of a long list of tech companies openly investing in VR development. And Apple’s absence is becoming increasingly noticeable.

In fact, CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood believes it unthinkable” that Apple has not been quietly exploring” the sector, adding: I’d wager that there is a substantial team within Apple figuring out how the company will play a role in this technology.

It certainly can’t let rivals such as Facebook, Google and Samsung run away with the market, particularly given the groundswell of momentum building around smartphone-based virtual reality.”

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