With virtual reality quickly picking up speed from various companies it appears Apple, although showing no interest in it recently, had something similar in mind in 2008 when they filed for a patent on a “head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”
Apple will soon be diving into the smartwatch arena to compete against many other manufacturers once the Apple Watch is released, and they might be getting into virtual reality to compete against them as well from the looks of it. Though they haven’t shown too much activity in VR like Google, Samsung, and Facebook have, they were at least intrigued enough by this type of technology to file a patent for it.
According to the patent, the design would allow users to couple or decouple portable electronic device such as an iPod, iPhone, or even a PDA to the apparatus and use the display by wearing it on their head. This would allow the portable electronic device to extend its features to the headset to enhance the functions of it. The headset would be able to function using voice commands and even would have the ability for a picture-in-picture function using the camera to still be able to see what is happening around you in the outside environment.
A few other interesting items mentioned in the patent are a remote control that could either be connected via a wire or wirelessly through either Wi-Fi, infrared, or Bluetooth in order to control the display, volume, or playback on the portable electronic device that is being used. It also includes the ability to perform certain functions on the device with head movements. Aside from those, the headset has touch sensors in the temples of the device which house normal speakers or earbuds for the user to be able to listen to any content.
With such a vague overall description of their newly patented device, I wonder if Apple has any plans to go after Google for their Cardboard design or Samsung for their Gear VR headset for infringing on their freshly acquired patent.Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office