- Apple used Vineyard Capital, a shell company, to purchase the German eye-tracking technology firm SensoMotoric Instruments, according to a report in Business Insider. Eye-tracking technology is considered an important aspect of virtual reality (VR) technology.
- SensoMotoric has been showing off its technology to some acclaim recently, per Business Insider, notably at the CES trade show via Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive headsets. One aspect of its tech that's earned some chatter is called "foveated rendering," which renders high-resolution images where the user is looking and less high-resolution images in the user's peripheral, which ultimately saves processing power.
- Apple may be looking to make VR more mainstream by leveraging SensoMotoric's technology to create less bulky headsets — that's where the processing power comes into play — as well as to offer a more optimized mobile experience with high-quality graphics and battery life savings, Business Insider said.
The broader implications for the VR space are significant if Apple is aiming to build out its expertise with the immersive technology. Although much of the news around how the tech giant will leverage SensoMotoric is pure speculation, Apple has long been a leader in getting consumers to adopt emerging technologies, most notably the smartphone with its introduction of the iPhone a decade ago.
VR, on the whole, has stalled out slightly in the marketing space after a bubbling up of hype last year around the release of more mobile-friendly, affordable devices like Google's Daydream View. A new product from Apple would undoubtedly reinvigorate interest from both marketers and consumers.
A less bulky, more accessible VR headset crafted by using SensoMotoric's rendering technology would also address criticism that much of the more advanced VR hardware is unwieldy and unappealing to use outside of niche spaces like gaming.
Even as Apple appears to be expanding its VR ambitions, augmented reality (AR) has been a greater focus of late. The company announced an ARKit at its annual WWDC conference in June that will be included in the release of iOS 11 to help developers more easily craft AR experiences.