The OculusRift virtual reality headset, which has its screen built in / Getty

Patent shows a headset that would allow users to strap iPhones to their face

Apple could be working on a virtual reality headset for the iPhone.

The headset would allow users to slide their iPhone into the headset, allowing them to wear it strapped to their head as a virtual reality screen. The patent refers to the invention as a “Head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display”.

Apple won the patent for the design yesterday, after having first filed for it in 2008.

Other companies already make third party headsets for the iPhone to be mounted in, but Apple’s headset includes special controls built in to the headset and a wireless connection to transfer data between it and the phone. It also mentions the possibility of a special wireless control that could be kept in users’ hands and would manipulate information shown on the screen.

The concept is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR, which takes the Galaxy Note 4. The invention could be as much an attempt by Apple to get ahead of other companies looking to do the same for the iPhone, rather than indicating that it intends to make one of the headsets itself.

There is little to suggest that Apple is immediately looking to launch a virtual reality product, though it has collected a range of other patents in the same field.