‘I hope Apple is working on VR’ says Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak

The co-founder of tech giant Apple has high hopes for virtual reality, and is now urging the tech giant to get involved.

Steve Wozniak waxed lyrical on the benefits of VR this week as he accepted the Alltech Humanitarian Award at a conference in the US. The Apple co-founder told the crowd that he’d been impressed by Samsung’s Gear VR headset, as reported by Tech Republic:

“It takes you to other worlds. It’s so real. It’s everywhere you look. That one gets me emotional. Virtual reality is going to have a big future. It could die like 3D TV. But there will be a lot of games possible and that’s enough to make the market work.”

Gear VRSamsung’s Gear VR headset

Wozniak thinks that gaming technology is now so important, not just to gamers but to corollary sectors, that it’s almost impossible for the industry to fail:

Today, the smartest electronic chips are made for video games. When I was a child, the chips that could actually do something, they were only affordable for the government and the military. If there was a little something left over that is what we consumers would get to make our home life better. Now it’s reversed, the military has to use the chips designed for video games because the scale makes it cheaper.”

He added: “I hope Apple is working on a VR that’s advanced compared to the ones we’re seeing.”

Virtual reality has taken off in 2016 with the launch of a number of high-profile headsets like the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift. We’re also expecting the debut of Sony’s PlayStation VR later this year.

Analysts are already expecting significant growth in the industry. Last year, just 350,000 VR headsets were sold, but IDC is predicting that number to rise to nine million by 2017. And by 2020, analysts say yearly global VR headset shipments will reach as high as 64.8 million.

Steve WozniakApple co-founder Steve Wozniak

Buy Now: Samsung Gear VR at Amazon for £70.20

Back in December, TrendForce estimated that virtual reality alone would be worth $70 billion by 2020. At the time, Jason Tsai, an analyst firm, said:

“These explosive growth projections do not sufficiently reflect just how hot the VR industry is right now. The figures do not include the value of non-commercial uses of VR technology. For example, the industry is currently pushing the development of free software and do-it-yourself apps. While these projects do not immediately generate revenue for developers, they have a vital role in the promotion of market growth and innovations.”

But despite the expected VR boom, Apple has shown little interest in the sector. Google recently invested heavily in the market with its Daydream VR platform however, which was unveiled at last month’s Google I/O 2016 developer conference. Apple could make a similar offering at next week’s WWDC event, although there have been no rumours suggesting that will be the case so far. We wouldn’t count on it.

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Do you think Apple should invest in virtual reality? Let us know in the comments.