Apple wins patent for iPhone-powered virtual reality headset

Apple wins patent for its own mobile-powered VR headset

Apple hasn’t shown interest in virtual reality like its Silicon Valley peers Google and Facebook have … until now.

The technology giant was granted a patent Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a “head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display,” or, put plainly, a wireless headset that uses an iPhone as a screen. 

Diagrams of the device resemble Samsung’s Gear VR, a head-mounted display that uses the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone to power the headset. The Gear VR was designed in collaboration with Oculus VR, an Irvine company that Facebook acquired last year for almost $2 billion. 

When reached for comment, an Apple spokeswoman said the company does not comment on patent filings. 

If Apple goes ahead with an investment in VR, it will join a group of companies pursuing the mobile-powered virtual reality market, including Samsung with the Gear VR, and Google, which created the low-end Google Cardboard and recently collaborated with Mattel to launch a virtual reality View-Master.

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