sony-project-morpheus-ps4-vr-headset-reveal-captionTo many, the question of an Apple AR or VR headset has become a “when” rather than an “if”. The President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios thinks 2017 is the year that Apple introduces its first immersive device.

Apple does R&D on a wide range of technologies and has been actively researching the fields of VR and AR for years, including submitting and receiving several relevant patents. And while much of Apple’s R&D doesn’t see the light of day, the company certainly excels at taking novel tech and marketing it as something that everyone can use. VR and AR are on the rise, and Apple is widely expected to jump into the immersive device space when the time is right. But exactly when that time is has been up for debate.

As for Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, 2017 is likely the year that Apple makes its first move. That’s according to Virtual Reality Pop, who queried a number of VR and AR industry insiders in a brief Q&A about their biggest predictions for the landscape in 2017.

Yoshia is a major believer in VR and has been closely involved with the creation of Sony’s PlayStation VR headset; he was the one to introduce the device (formerly called Project Morpheus) to the public for the first time at GDC 2014 (see leading photo). Since then he’s appeared numerous times to herald the headset and has carefully followed the evolution of the VR and AR landscape by attending and participating the industry’s top conferences.

Apple Mum on AR/VR for iPhone 7, but Here's How We Know They're Still Working on It

It’s doubtful that Yoshida has any specific knowledge of an Apple AR or VR device announcement, but his prediction certainly contains the wisdom of a long time Sony veteran who is carefully considering PlayStation’s forward-looking VR strategy with regards to Apple’s possible entry into the marketplace.

Do you think Apple will come to the market with an AR/VR product this year? Let us know in the comments.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Banana

    People have been saying Apple is going to show AR/VR product for the last several years. Same goes for Apple car. Yet, we haven’t seen anything. They are getting left behind.

    • evo_9

      For 5 or so years I read rumors of a fabled ‘apple phone’. What a joke, I mean after waiting and waiting and all those rumors, yeah total fucking joke, what losers.

      • I like the way you think, sir.

    • “Left behind”, huh?
      Yeah you’re right, what with storied, decades-long history
      that the VR industry is so well-known for ….
      Oh, that’s right: IT JUST STARTED NINE MONTHS AGO.

      The Rift, by best guesses, has about a million sold so far.
      Same with PlayStatioVR. Which is under what Sony expected, btw.
      The Vive, maybe around 100,000.
      I won’t bore you with GearVR totals, and that’s not real VR, anyway.

      With numbers like these, nobody’s being “left behind”, my friend ….
      Let me put it to you this way:
      Y’know that snazzy new HQ Apple’s building?
      I don’t think that sort of foward-lookingness is being based soley
      on future earnings from updated iPhone & iPad models.
      Something BIG is coming that they felt needed
      being represented by an iconic corporate main building.

      Let me leave you with this:
      about a year ago in an interview with Charlie Rose, Tim Cook said,
      and I quote: “We’re working on things that aren’t even rumored about.”
      Take that for what it’s worth.

      • JMM21

        Well it didnt JUST start 9 months ago to be fair….

        • user

          look at his numbers… he clearly doesnt read vr news very often :D

      • LegoKnockingShop

        Seriously, where do you pull those numbers from?

        • Publicly available sales figures. Seriously.

          • David Herrington

            I need cited references, please… Seriously.

          • Get Schwifty!

            Dude… just stop, there are no publicly available sales figures, neither Rift nor Vive have published any numbers to date, if they had I assure you the regular readers here would know within hours…

      • David Herrington

        “The Rift, by best guesses, has about a million sold so far.
        Same with PlayStatioVR. Which is under what Sony expected, btw.
        The Vive, maybe around 100,000.”

        Might want to do a little more research on this site before you just throw Rift vs Vive sales numbers around…
        You have no clue as to what Apple is working on, yet you adamantly think its revolutionary? (pretty obvious you are a big fan and may not listen to reason.)

        If they are “working on things that aren’t even rumored about” then how could that possibly be VR, as that has been rumored and speculated about plenty. LOOK, we are doing it right now. We are talking about Apple VR rumors.

        Lastly, you are solely basing Apple’s success on the purchase of a building??? Apple may very well have something amazing up their sleeve but your argument isn’t helping me believe it.

        • My sources are impeccable.

          • David Herrington

            Nice…. that statement is about as useful as when President Richard Nixon first uttered the now infamous phrase, “I am not a crook.”

            I need cited sources or you’re an just a bunch of hot air.

      • “Gear VR isnt real VR”
        ok time to stop listening to you

        • Mike

          “Real VR” is hard to define. I’d say it’s “real VR”. It’s just terrible compared to the Vive and Rift, because it lacks positional tracking and has a too-low refresh rate.

          • for mobile vr its fantastic. It’s all relative. gear vr is great for what it is and samsung has made it accessible to everyone. I dare say its the most successful VR platform so far.

          • Mike

            The Nintendo Wii was the most successful console of its generation. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t terrible compared to its competition. But it was cheaper and had a gimmick that caught on with casual gamers.

            The Gear VR is fantastic if you don’t mind the presence-breaking inability to lean even the slightest bit (though its not so bad if there are no nearby objects), ghost trails, and eye strain (due to both the low refresh rate and non-adjustable IPD).

          • NooYawker

            Gear VR is great for anyone who doesn’t want to go all in with a full setup. And at this point, I wouldn’t blame most people. $800 for a market with only a handful of games and lot’s of tech demo’s. But it’s a pretty amazing experience when you have a full room setup with motion controllers.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Even as a Rift user currently I can tell you no way in hell Rift has sold a million units… maybe, *maybe* 200K best case, about half of what Vive has sold if all the circumstantial evidence is put together.

        I do agree they are not being “left behind”, they are doing as usual, watching and evaluating to move into the market, and its pretty clear they are putting their money on AR as the real market, not full-VR.

      • ra51

        Wasn’t the sales for the Vive already around 140k….back in October or something?

      • Aris Routis

        Drinking the apple cool aid much ?

    • JMM21

      Well they had to get their 2nd watch out lol duh..


    When Apple does decide to release an i-something, imagine how well they will be able to leverage the app store & distribution network they have built up over the years. An iPhone powered HMD? An iPad Pro powered HMD? An Apple designed stand-alone unit? Apple is letting other companies do the heavy lifting of establishing the market/demand, as well as sorting out the pitfalls/problems. Wait till the marketplace is ready, then release a polished product with mega support from their pre built infrastructure.

    • user

      i dont see a better infrastructure than there is with samsung/facebook/google/microsoft/huawei/htc/valve.

      • Get Schwifty!

        People might have thought the same thing about Palm and Blackberry in 2007… Apple is doing what they always do, let the technology mature to a point, identify how companies are not effectively utilizing it in many ways to meet market demand, then coming out with a product that competes well enough to command a part of the market with a reasonably streamlined product. No question they will release a product or two in time, but I think its hilarious we have an article of a guy with one company making headlines making predictions about another company with nothing to base it on directly, and there is no justification in the article for his thinking – slow news day ;)

        • user

          im sure they will have a good product out at some time. but i dont expect anything that will be significantly better than what the others do. doug bowman wont invent the wheel again.
          when there was the rumor about them working on smartglasses with zeiss i was like… isnt it more realistic that they buy lenses for a vr hmd? if its true at all.
          and what about the wireless headphones? they have waited, bragi, samsung and others released theirs and then apple comes out with a broken toothbrush design hanging out of your ears. people just expect greatness because its apple.
          a couple of days after the iphone 7 was revealed and bored tech websites they started to spread rumors about the iphone 8 and how it will change everything again.
          it makes you wonder how much apple pays all of these media outlets to create hype.
          beats by dre… same thing. hype.

          • Get Schwifty!

            I agree, I don’t expect anything especially new with Apple, what they do best is see where others make mistakes in markets, or don’t leverage technology for the end consumer. The iPod was just another Mp3 player really, what they did was package it and make it very smooth to use with a very easy way to get music. Ditto for the iPhone in many ways.

            Hype is always part of the game, but if it were *just* hype, you wouldn’t have literally millions upon millions of folks who prefer their stuff religiously. it comes down to a Gestalt with their designs and Eco-system, which you either like or you don’t. I personally cannot stand using a Mac for instance, but likewise find every Android phone I have ever tried to use nothing but sub-par and janky feeling, but that’s a personal assessment, I am sure there are Android fans who feel Apple IOS is “constrained” and boring, but it just *works* which is what a lot of people want.

            On iPhone 8, it might well be significant change, at least for Apple as that will be the 10 year anniversary.

        • Muddy

          Nailed it, slow news day indeed!

    • Because Apple control not only the hardware but also the operating system and portal they can really tailor a device to be an optimum VR/AR experience. Apple have said in the past that AR is the way to go but with games being their no 1 seller on the store they would be daft to exclude VR.

      Remember Sony and the walkman? Apple took the walkman and modernised it into the iPod which was a world best seller and probably think they are doing it again in the mobile VR space. Also Apple are working on autonomous and driverless cars so have ultra high end AR tech firmly in their secret portfolio already.

      I hope they blow the lid of something soon as us developers are waiting for it. The iWatch isn’t it for me. the Apple TV (not the ATV box) never came to market and phone features and sales have reached a plateau but VR and AR are the future as us fans on this board can see.

      In my opinion, mobile phones as we know them are at their end cycle. All we see now are performance tweaks with little ground breaking innovation.
      Wearables are the future, Google Glass was too soon, now not so much.

      My prediction is that the mobile phone will just be a portable computer in your pocket (Even Intel thinks this with their recent launched credit-card style computer) and devices like biometric bands, AR glasses etc will be the Input/Output. Those of us with the cash will answer our phones by hand signaling in the air or shaking our heads slightly. That is where Apple will be aiming. A hop skip and a jump from here. I hope.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Wearables will be a “thing” when the IoT impact is felt by end users. As someone who has worn an Apple Watch since it came out, there are certain things about it I really like, and they will be the central input device in time with personal assistants and other voice controlled items I think, the relative hands-free use is very handy at times like driving. Use of Siri, imperfect as it is, is probably the single best feature of the Apple Watch.. The disappointing side is (still) the lack of good app development for it.

    • Mike

      I’m guessing it’ll be called the iEye.

      • Eric Lotze

        Or iSight

        • Mike

          I always thought their Safari browser should have been named iBrowse.

        • Armando Tavares

          And iDummies will buy them for sure

      • Becca

        Fun fact – one of the first VR HMDs was called the EyePhone

        • Mike

          Haha that’s funny – I had no idea. I looked it up – it’s true. I
          wonder why they called it a phone – maybe it was designed for
          telepresence / VR teleconferencing. I wonder if Apple knew about it
          when they named the iPhone.

      • David Herrington

        At ease, skipper.

        • Mike

          Haha, exactly.

      • TheObserver

        I-ris, i-Retina. I am going with iEye or maybe just “I” :D

        • Aris Routis

          Try to say iEye out loud…
          yeah. Totally idiotic ;)

          • TheObserver

            Yep…This is why I wrote 3 alternatives. iGlass/es also pretty solid, as a fellow commenter has stated.

  • Muddy

    Like everything else Apple, it will be an over-rated, over-priced piece of inferior hardware.

    • Get Schwifty!

      The cost is relative to the desire to own something, and specs just don’t tell the full experiential story. Cars are notorious for this, with people drooling over engine displacement values, skid-pad ratings etc., but when you finally sit down and actually drive the various cars together, the one that often doesn’t look that great on paper actually is the better overall car. Many Apple users feel this way about the products which is why they are willing to put up with the higher prices and usually quite honestly better materials, workmanship and reliability.,

    • NooYawker

      And there will always be people obsessed and angry at Apple for some reason.

  • In my opinion, it will release an AR glass for sure, because AR glasses are the new smartphones. I don’t believe in Apple VR, instead

    • Get Schwifty!

      I agree completely… I don’t think Apple will press on VR until it is much more mature, if ever, but will focus on AR applications.

  • Daniel

    Anyone remember Apple QuickTime VR?

    23 Years ago…

    • Mike

      Yep. That was just marketing though – it wasn’t really VR. It was 360 degree panoramas, cubic “panoramas”, and 360 degree object viewing.

      • Daniel
        • Mike

          Interesting article. What I meant is that it wasn’t actually VR, and didn’t have any sort of integration with a VR headset. To quote your article, “Calling it VR was controversial and somewhat

          • Daniel

            Sure, in hindsight it isn’t VR but it was revolutionary back then and had a number of viable commercial applications, there was nothing else quite like it. Of course there were no VR headsets, after all, CRT displays were still maturing! It was still exciting and somewhat immersive.

          • Mike

            It was definitely revolutionary. Didn’t meant to imply that it wasn’t. Though it’s not just hindsight – VR was a well-defined thing back then, and they knew it wasn’t actually VR. And yes there actually were VR headsets back then – they were just much worse and much less popular. For example:

    • NooYawker

      Everything that is being worked on today has been around for decades. Even self driving cars, they just didn’t have the tech to fulfill the concept.

  • Ron Westerduin

    There is not a Mac in the world with a videocard good enough to even run VR content.

    • hyperskyper

      It won’t run on computers. It will be mobile AR or VR and will probably be run by iPhones. I have fairly low expectations for the device that I don’t doubt does exist.

    • NooYawker

      That means Apple users will have to buy a new Mac with a powerful video card, how terrible for Apple.

  • Albert Hartman

    Most of what we do with a smartphone can be done better with AR glasses and earbuds/mic/cameras/wristband. It’s the logical evolution of mobile computing, therefore Apple has to do it.

  • OgreTactics

    Not happening. Wonder what brought Shuhei Yoshida to make that bet.

  • Drewlon Rouge

    Really, no one here is saying “iGlasses”…

  • TheObserver

    “Apple expects to sell a lot.

    The big bang approaches where Apple will sell — in one quarter — more
    mixed reality devices (VR and AR) than the rest of the industry has
    sold, or given away, combined.

    All 3 new Iphones will be fully AR/MR compatible and so will a bunch of other products.

    Apple will also announce a pair of three-ounce glasses.

    At least one of the three OLED panels are going to be clear / transparent.

    Apple has already talked with content companies.

    The phones will sell for near what they cost today. Maybe $100 more.”

    Robert Scoble