Tim Cook has been talking a lot about Apple’s new focus on augmented reality, so developers were quite surprised at WWDC to hear about the company’s newfound interest in supporting virtual reality content development on its devices.
Of course, here at WeAreDevelopers we’re all ears to find out more about Apple’s support for VR. Together with macOS’ new High Sierra version, the company also introduced Metal 2, Apple’s powerful graphics technology that will help VR rendering and external GPUs (a great addition to Apple’s brand new 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro, which will both support VR).
Apple didn’t just pay respect to VR’s rising success, it also held a demonstration using a Mac right on stage at WWDC to create VR, with a HTC Vive user entering a demo of a Star Wars world and experience that was developed employing the Unreal engine. TIE fighters, lightsaber-wielding Darth Vader, and all the surroundings were generated in gorgeous 3D, all available for the HTC Vive user to interact freely with.
Apple also took care to mention that Valve is optimizing its StreamVR platform for macOS and VR development platforms Unity and Unreal engine will be optimized for the latest version of macOS.
What does this all mean? Apple is looking to Apple-fy VR, making VR creation more Apple-user friendly and allowing for developers on its macOS to develop excellent VR worlds on its devices. This comes as great news to developers who prefer Macs, as they have up until recently been unable to fully jump on the VR word and 360 VR development bandwagon.
The macOS High Sierra update is already available as a developer beta, with a public beta being released later this month, and a standard release of the OS to all users coming soon.