Virtual Reality Coming to iOS Within 2 Years, Claims Gene Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple plans to put iOS at the center of several forthcoming augmented reality and VR innovations set to launch within the next two years.

In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Munster claims a timeline of recent purchases and hires by the company suggests that iOS support for „mixed reality“ applications could be set for launch as soon as 2018.

The analyst points to a LinkedIn search which reveals at least 141 Apple employees with a background in AR, although it should be noted that the same search returns 425 and 267 people with similar experience working at Microsoft and Google, respectively.

Of particular interest to Apple is the concept of „mixed reality“ wearables, or advanced optics that use embedded cameras and sensors to blend holographic imagery with real-life objects, claims Munster.

Intellectual property gained via research and development projects as well as strategic acquisitions, such as Apple’s purchase of 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense, are said to be behind the recent drive.

We believe 10 years from now Generation Z will find reality inefficient. We believe the concept of an ‘inefficient reality’ is evident through smartphone use today — the precursor to mixed reality — offering users the ability to find more information as needed.

The analyst goes on to suggest a natural progression in the personal technology market from smartphones to AR/VR and believes Apple is looking at VR as an iPhone peripheral, much like the Apple Watch. The prospect of Apple releasing hardware on this front in the near term is seen by Munster as unlikely, although by 2018 Apple may be ready to offer developers an official software framework for licensed third-party hardware solutions, similar to the company’s MFi Program for iOS devices.

Munster has made questionable assertions in recent years, with predictions such as Apple’s rumored television set having failed to materialize. Still, the note does follow a recent report by Financial Times claiming that Apple has built a „secret research unit“ in which hundreds of employees are experimenting with AR and VR technologies. The team is said to be made up of, among others, experts plucked from Microsoft and live-action VR company Lytro.

Apple’s interest in virtual reality has gained pace over the last few years, with the filing of multiple patents for VR-related products, like video goggles, motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS devices, and 3D „hyper reality“ displays. More recently, Apple has made a spate of AR/VR-related acquisitions, including Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient, and image-recognition app creators Flyby Media. Last month, the company hired Doug Bowman, said to be one of the leading VR experts in the United States.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
Tags: Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster
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Gene Munster thinks 2017 will be Apple Watch’s breakout year

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Apple Reportedly Has Small Team Working on Augmented Reality Projects

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster claims in a note to investors that Apple has a small team working in and exploring the augmented reality field. Munster believes that while augmented reality is still a decade away from broader consumer adoption, Apple is preparing for the next evolution in computing and will be able to offer fashionable wearables that people will actually want to wear.

„While it is limited, we believe Apple has a small team of engineers exploring augmented reality applications. We believe that at the core, the group is likely trying to understand a wearable interface that design would ultimately make fashionable/socially acceptable. At this point, we believe it is difficult to determine if or when these experiments might yield a product.“

Google Glass is perhaps the most notable example of a wearable that, while revolutionary in many aspects, created some uncomfortable situations for those wearing the device in public. Glass Explorer Edition was quick to be banned from several public establishments, including movie theaters, casinos, restaurants, hospitals, sports venues, schools, banks and more due to its ability to discreetly take photos and record videos.

Munster remains skeptical about whether Apple’s focus on augmented reality will result in a future product, as it is common for the company to research and develop new products and technologies that are never released to the public. Munster also has a less than impressive track record at divulging Apple’s upcoming plans, so his predictions should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt.

Apple began allowing developers to release augmented reality apps on the App Store nearly six years ago, such as Google’s mystery game Ingress. Apple also began exploring augmented reality for Maps in 2011, corroborated by a March 2014 report claiming that the iPhone maker still plans to add augmented reality features to Maps. Based on Munster’s comments, Apple appears to remain interested in the field.




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Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Inventory Improving, but Still Tighter Than Last Year’s iPhone 5s

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are both seeing improved inventory availability at Apple’s retail stores across the United States, according to a new report from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has been tracking in-store availability of various models across 80 different stores since the devices’ launch in September.

According to the report, checks of Apple’s online store for in-store pickup at the location found that 56 percent of „core SKUs“ (AT&T and Verizon) of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were in stock as of last Friday, December 12, which was „up from almost no inventory in mid-November.“ Munster’s previous tracking saw 6 percent availability as of October 14 and 0.4 percent as of November 14.

We believe that this tracking suggests that availability has improved, but we also note that we would have expected availability to be 100%. Previously, we believed that Apple would likely reach 100% availability by the end of the quarter. We now expect it to be closer to 80% by the end of the quarter.

Shipping estimates for online orders through Apple in the U.S. and other countries also began improving in late November and moved to 3-5 business days earlier this month. Munster noted, however, that „typically at this time in the cycle, we would expect online leads times to be same business day.“

Looking back at the iPhone 5s, which was also considered constrained for quite some time after launch last year, Munster found in-store availability in the United States was essentially at 100 percent as of December 9, 2013, with online orders achieving „within 24 hours“ balance just a day later.

With a little over a week until Christmas, it appears that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are continuing to face far more shortages than any of their predecessors have in the past, despite the boost in online and retail availability over the past month.




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It’s so September 2014: Teen interest in Apple Watch remains “tepid”

The iPad may be more popular than ever among young people, but according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster that same level of excitement doesn’t carry over to the forthcoming Apple Watch. In a research note to clients, Munster describes reaction to…Read more ›



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iPhone and iPad Remain Popular With Teens, Interest in Apple Watch Tepid Ahead of Unveiling

Apple’s iPhone continues grow in popularity with U.S. teenagers, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s latest semiannual teen survey, which asked approximately 7,200 teens with an average age of 16 years about their device usage habits and future buying plans.

67 percent of surveyed teens owned an iPhone, compared to 61 percent in the Spring survey, and 73 percent of teens expect their next phone to be an iPhone. Much of Apple’s gains in ownership came from Android, which lost five percentage points over the last several months. iPhone usage among teens may jump significantly in the next few months, as the survey was conducted just before the introduction of the larger-screened iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

While iPad ownership remained high at 66 percent, there was no growth compared to the Spring survey. Android tablets also saw ownership numbers drop, and of customers planning to buy a tablet in the next six months, 60 percent plan to choose an iPad Air or iPad mini.

As for the upcoming Apple Watch, interest among teenagers remains relatively low. Only 16 percent of teens said they would be interested in purchasing an Apple Watch for $350, down slightly from the Spring survey where 17 percent expressed interest. Munster’s survey was, however, conducted before the Apple Watch was announced, so interest numbers may shift in the next Spring survey.

Younger customers have always been important to Apple as it gives the company a chance to create lifelong customers. Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Electronics, for example, may have partially taken place as an effort to remain relevant among teenage users. In a survey of 10,000 students, a quarter believed the deal would make Apple more „cool,“ while 50 percent believed the acquisition would increase Apple’s popularity among students.




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