Apple hires virtual reality expert as company could look to release VR headset

If Apple were to enter the industry, it would mean that almost every major technology company has a virtual reality product

Apple has hired one of the US’s top virtual reality researchers, probably signalling that it is looking to move into the industry.

Releasing a headset would bring Apple into line with other major tech companies, almost all of which have shown off virtual reality equipment. Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and Google have all demonstrated different takes on headsets that make people feel as if they are inside a virtual world.

Now Apple has hired Doug Bowman, who was previously a computer science professor at Virginia Tech. There, he led the university’s human-computer interaction centre for about five years.

Mr Bowman’s LinkedIn profile describes his work as being on “three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments,” according to the Financial Times, which first reported the news.

Mr Bowman has worked on both of the major kinds of virtual reality available today. That includes both fully immersive headsets, like those made by Facebook’s Oculus, as well as augmented reality like the Microsoft Hololens, which imposes images onto the actual environment.

The new hire follows a range of purchases, which have included companies that make technologies for recognising and understanding people’s faces.

The company has also filed patents for virtual reality technology, some of which uses its existing iPhone handsets. But it’s not clear whether the company is yet working on any hardware.

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