It’s a story we’ve heard countless times before – is Apple planning to make a move into Virtual Reality? It’s happened with the Apple Watch and now all the signs suggest it may be about to happen with virtual reality.

Here’s what Apple CEO Tim Cook had to say recently. “VR,” he said, “is really cool and has interesting applications.”

Fans of VR would certainly agree, but other comments in which he suggested VR should no longer be seen as a ‘niche’ area are extremely telling. It’s the biggest hint yet that Apple have plans in the VR sector.

If so, then now could be a good time to make the move. Apple’s biggest seller by some distance is the iPhone, but sales have recently been slowing and it’s seen its position as market leader come under increasing threat from the likes of Samsung. There’s a growing sense that the days of Apple being a pioneer in technology are fading – instead it’s just following the herd.

A VR device of some kind could help to boost its handset sales and it could reinvigorate the company’s flagging reputation for innovation. It would sit neatly inside its category of ‘other’ technology which includes the likes of the Apple Watch. Admittedly sales in this category have been extremely poor – especially compared with the likes of the phones and tablets – and their products have hardly set the world alight. Even so, a VR device with a peculiar Apple spin on it could do a great deal to reinvigorate the sector.

Apple has built its brand on a reputation for doing a few products extremely well and the VR market is perfectly set up. Although it is by no means an entirely new phenomenon it is still only on the brink of making a major breakthrough into the popular imagination. We’re still waiting for things such as Oculus Rift and Playstation VR and even though there are signs of Google bringing its own technology to the market we could be waiting for some time.

The market is in an exciting stage in which development is moving rapidly and nobody has truly stepped forward to grasp the mantle of the market leader. Apple is well placed to play that role by bringing in a top of the range premium headset that successfully takes the technology forward another stage.

It may well be that it decides to sit for now and wait this one out, but that could backfire. As the recent Sundance Film Festival showed, VR is receiving more attention than ever before. It is the place where content creation – on several fronts is heading. Even Samsung is opening its own VR film studio.

Those companies which can get in on the act now have a good chance of sitting at the forefront of this technology. By letting this opportunity pass by Apple could be missing a big chance to play a major role in shaping this future.

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