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Apple has already built virtual reality headset prototypes, report claims

When Tim Cook described virtual reality as “really cool” and “not niche” this week, the tech world replied with a raised eyebrow and a collective “oh really now?”

Following a report from the FT on Friday we may have learned that, in this instance, there’s no smoke without fire.

Sources say Apple has already assembled a team of virtual and augmented reality engineers to create its own headsets.

According to the report, the team have been working on prototypes for ‘several months,’ which could lead to Oculus Rift or Microsoft HoloLens challengers in Apple’s future.

See also: Microsoft HoloLens vs Oculus Rift

Reporter Tim Bradshaw says there are already hundreds of employees working on the projects, boosted by acquisitions of AR start ups Flyby Media, which facilitates ‘fly over’ experiences.

As well as ‘carefully targeted acquisitions’, Apple has also snapped up employees from the likes of Microsoft and Lytro, according to the report.

The acquisitions may not be over, with those in the know claiming Apple, which already has VR patents in the bag, is on the look out for optical technology companies.

Apple’s endeavours remain in the exploratory stage according to Bradshaw, who says the firm may still decide to shelve plans, at it did with a similar scheme a decade ago.

However, with fears the iPhone may have peaked and Apple now dealing with falling iPad and Mac sales, attentions may turn to new revenue streams with new product categories.

With VR headsets like the Rift and AR projects like Microsoft’s HoloLens, it appears as though Apple may be thinking about the next bit thing. That, and its “open secret” car project

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Think Apple is to late to the VR game? Let us know in the comments below.

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