Valve promised OpenVR support for Mac users in late 2016. Now in early 2017, the company is taking the first steps towards that promise.
The SteamVR creator today launched v1.0.6 of its OpenVR SDK on GitHub, allowing applications to work across a range of VR headsets. A tweet from the OpenVR account noted that the update was “Highly recommended for driver devs”.
OpenVR SDK 1.0.6 released: https://t.co/iRV3pdu4VI
Includes significant changes to the driver interface. Highly recommended for driver devs
— OpenVR (@OpenVR) January 31, 2017
Look a little deeper into the changelog, though, and you’ll find this: “Added initial support for DirectX 12 and OSX IOSurfaces. Use at your own risk. Forward compatibility is not guaranteed.”
That should mean that developers are able to start testing their VR content on Apple’s operating system, though Valve’s precautions in wording should be taken to heart. Forward compatibility here likely means that any apps developers do get running on OSX may not work with future versions of the SDK.
VR support on Mac has been a tricky subject over the past few years. While early development kits for the Oculus Rift were compatible with the platform, the consumer edition of the device does not support it. In the past the company has explained that Macs don’t target the high-end components needed for a good VR experience. We’ve seen more powerful machines coming from Apple in recent months, though at the same time Oculus CTO John Carmack earlier this month joked that he wasn’t a Mac user unless “under duress” during his time on the stand in the ZeniMax/Oculus trial.
Could Mac’s barren days of VR soon be nearing? Perhaps, but Apple has shown far more interest in augmented reality (AR) than it has VR over the past year, particularly following the success of Pokemon GO. Perhaps 2017 will hold a new Apple device that’s better suited to running the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Valve also said that support for the Linux OS is on the way, but no sign of that yet.