Apple Patent Reveals it's Worked on an iPhone Oculus Rift Rival

By Gerald Lynch on at

Sorry, it's not that image up top -- that's the insane Kickstarter project AirVR that we showed you a little while back. Apple's actual VR headset patent looks a little something like this:

Spotted by Patently Apple among 41 other patents that Apple has just been granted by the USPTO, Apple's take on the virtual reality fad revived by Oculus Rift seems a close analogue to that worked on by Google and Samsung with the Gear VR headset.

The patent (first filed in 2008) describes a "video headset frame", which works alongside an iPhone or iPod to deliver immersive video and audio feeds. It is, essentially, an iOS version of the Android-based Gear VR then.

There's a little more to it than just movie viewing though. The patent describes the potential for a picture-in-picture feed that makes use of the device's camera, allowing you to keep an eye on the real world while you're engrossed in the virtual one. Physical controls would be incorporated into the headset itself, while earplugs would have settings to make sound effects from movies more punchy and immersive.

Apple's never first to market with these sort of products, but it does like to think of itself as being the best when it does eventually show its hand. With this patent around seven years old, its unclear how relevant it would be to Apple's current VR interests, if it's maintained them at all. But with Facebook, Google, Samsung and plenty of other companies investing in VR, you can be sure Apple won't want to be left without an iVR alternative once the virtual reality market kicks into gear. [Patently Apple]

Top Image Credit: AirVR