Developers can now add MacOS as one of the platforms with VR capability thanks to a new external processing unit released by HTC Vive, which will connect using the Thunderbolt 3 port.
Announced at yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2017, Apple and HTC Vive unveiled their partnership and an external GPU for developers and content creators to use for VR development. This was demonstrated onstage using the HTC Vive headset. The external GPU includes an AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card, which is VR ready, and developers will get a $100 disount for also purchasing a HTC Vive, as long as they are members of the Apple Developer Program.
Developers will be able to use the new MacOS, High Sierra, to access the power needed for development and performance, and SteamVR is also available in beta. This will not work on any previous versions of MacOS.
In addition to this the Unreal Engine showed that it was VR ready for the mac with a demonstration of both VR and AR, with a Star Wars demo made by ILMxLABS for VR and Peter Jackson’s Wingnut for AR.
"Apple’s debut of VR support for Mac and AR support for iOS are true game-changers," said Epic Games’ Tim Sweeny in a blog post. "Whereas there are a couple million VR enthusiasts today, and early AR hardware from other companies has reached several thousand developers, Apple is bringing this high-powered technology to hundreds of millions of consumers right now.
"I believe this is truly the start of the mainstream VR and AR revolution that we at Epic have been striving for, and building for, over the course of many years. Apple’s emphatic entry into this space marks the beginning of AR and VR as a mainstream consumer phenomenon, as a market that’s now ready to grow beyond a few million enthusiasts, to reach hundreds of millions and then billions."