2016 could be the year when Apple gets more serious about virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. FBR & Co analyst Daniel Ives, who has a decent record with such predictions, said in a recent note that he believes Apple will get aggressive around this emerging space next year.
While Apple hasn't released any virtual reality gear thus far, several recent hires and patent filings reveal the company's intention of getting into this space. These efforts could see a new high next year, noted Ives.
The world's most valuable company will become "very aggressive on the virtual/augmented reality front through organic as well as acquisitive means in 2016," he added. The move, as you could imagine, will be company's attempt to build a product category that complements its iPhone lineup, the business that currently accounts for the vast majority of its revenue and profits.
Speculation around Apple producing virtual reality gear has been going on for over a year. A job listing on the company's website last year sought a candidate who could make high-performance apps that integrate with Virtual Reality systems.
Similarly, a patent spotted earlier this year, which was granted to Apple, described a head-mounted display apparatus which could hold a portable electronic device with a display. From the description, it appeared the company was making a device similar to the Google Cardboard.
The virtual reality and augmented reality space, while still in the nascent stage, has already attracted several tech giants including Facebook (Oculus Rift), Samsung (Samsung Gear VR), HTC (HTC Vive), Sony (PlayStation VR), Microsoft (HoloLens), and Razer (OSVR). If Apple intends to get into this category, it would want to release a product sooner than later. The company has a history of entering markets late, but with more polished products than the competition - sometimes even kickstarting the entire segment.