Apple Sets Stage For VR; Shows Off Star Wars Vive Demo

Apple’s new iMacs are now powerful enough to support VR.

Apple unveiled macOS High Sierra during WWDC. The successor to macOS Sierra promises a slew of new features and most notably among them—support for virtual reality.

Apple Embracing Virtual Reality

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi took the stage and confirmed that “Valve is bringing SteamVR to Mac.”

SteamVR will also be joined on Mac systems by the Unreal and Unity video game engines, all tying directly into today’s newly announced Metal 2 video-processing API.

Also continuing the theme of VR support for Mac, Industrial Light and Magic staffers demonstrated the first-ever native HTC Vive demo on a Mac system. An ILM user in headset dropped TIE Fighters, Imperial Cruisers, and Darth Vader into a Star Wars-themed world, using nothing more than an on-screen GUI controlled with HTC Vive controllers.

Apple demonstrated a new commitment to VR, showcasing high-end VR for the first time running on a Mac in front of thousands of developers.

The refreshed Mac system will come with enough horsepower needed to render HTC Vive-ready content at a comfortable 90-frames-per-second refresh. This was a number that ILM shared was reached during their on stage demo.

Apple showcasing a combination of HTC Vive and Steam VR signals a new strategy on what the company may have planned when it comes to hardware development and third-party partners. Notably missing from the Apple keynote was any presence of Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

MacOS High Sierra is available as a developer beta today and in public beta later this month.

Later this year, Final Cut Pro X will add support for professional 360-degree workflows with the ability to import, edit and export 360-degree video.

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About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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