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Brief Published: 11 Nov 2015

Apple’s First Virtual Reality Experiment

Screenshot from Apple's VR film with U2

Apple has teamed up with U2 to launch its first ever piece of virtual reality (VR) content. The 360-degree music video is one component of a larger Apple partnership with the Irish rockers called The Experience Bus. US blog TechCrunch describes it as enabling “an environment at concerts for U2 fans to strap on Oculus headsets and pairs of Beats Solos, check out the Song for Someone music video and experience it alongside other fans”.

This is the first hint that Apple is getting serious about VR. As competitors Facebook and Google ramp up their offerings, there are signs that Apple is also betting on a virtual future. The tech giant has been securing VR-related patents and buying established VR firms, including German company Metaio, acquired in March.

With the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Sony’s Project Morpheus all expected to launch next year, VR consultancy firm KZero predicts there will be more than 40 million active users of VR by the end of 2016. How will Apple engage this brand new audience? US business magazine Fortune comments: “Apple, with its Pixar connections, is looking – for starters – at the same application that’s caught Hollywood’s attention: personalised, immersive storytelling.”

The quick, easy creation of credible virtual worlds moved a step closer this week with the launch of the SpatialOS simulation software by British tech firm Improbable. US tech blog Venturebeat explains that SpatialOS “will enable real-time, high-fidelity simulations at levels of scale and detail that were previously impossible”.

For more on VR applications in media, marketing and entertainment, see New Video Marketing Strategies, New York Times’ VR Push, Sculpting VR Story Spaces With HTC, Comic-Con International 2015 and our Post-Digital Macro Trend.

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