Apple’s short history with VR is somewhat troubled. While CEO Tim Cook continues to rave about AR instead, headset makers like Facebook’s Oculus don’t support the Mac OSX, citing the need for more powerful hardware to run headsets like the Rift. That status quo might finally change next year, though.
Earlier this week Apple provided an update on its Mac Pro line of desktop PCs, promising that a new iteration of the device would be coming at some point in 2018. According to TechCrunch, it will feature more powerful GPUs and CPUs than the 2013 model, which featured a 22nm Intel Xeon E5-1680 V2.
But let’s cut right to the bit you care about. In response to a question asking who would need a more powerful Pro, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that some “scientific loads” are “very GPU intersive”, and some customers wanted better hardware to handle it.
“There are heavy 3D graphics [applications] or graphics and compute mixed loads,” Federighi said. “Those can be in VR, those can be in certain kinds of high-end cinema production tasks where most of the software out there that’s been written to target those doesn’t know how to balance itself well across multiple GPUs but can scale across a single large GPU.”
It’s just the slightest mention, but it’s still sounds like a pretty promising hint that VR support could finally be on its way to Mac. Past hires from the company certainly suggest it has at least some interest in the technology too.
If a VR-ready Mac Pro really is on the cards then it will be interesting to see how other companies approach the new ecosystem. Oculus has always said that Apple’s machines simply aren’t powerful enough to support the Rift, but if next year’s Pro is up to the task, will the company offer support? Valve, meanwhile, seems to be preparing for the arrival of a VR-ready Mac, having introduced early OSX support in a recent OpenVR update.
As for a possible Mac VR headset made by Apple itself? No word yet.