There have been no shortage of rumors around the idea of Apple jumping into the world of VR, but hardly any of those have come to fruition. We still don’t have an Apple-made VR headset, but at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference on Monday, the company made debuted the software foundation that will make it easier for Apple to get its VR hardware game up and running for its ecosystem of devices and apps, should it ever choose to do so.
Specifically, Apple announced that Metal 2, the new version of its hardware API to debut on the newest version of macOS, High Sierra, will possess the capability for users to create, render, and modify VR graphics and simulations, for a host of different applications.
“With this graphics power, we’re really doubling down on our focus on pro-content creation,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “And that’s increasingly about VR content creation.
“And so we’re bringing Metal for VR, on High Sierra,” he told the audience. Apps like Final Cut Pro X will modified to allow users to cut and edit spherical video. Apple also announced partnerships with Valve to bring Steam VR to Mac, as well as Unity and Unreal to bring their engines to the Mac.
VFX artist John Knoll, who’s also the chief creating officer for Industrial Light & Magic, showed off a demo of what he has been able to develop using the new VR-infused iMacs.
Specifically, Knoll and his colleague Lauren Ridge from Epic Games showed off a demo of a VR simulation of the fictional planet Mustafar from Star Wars. The user — in this case, Ridge — is able to customize a scene out and have it play forward. She added an Imperial Shuttle, some Tie Fighters, and a very angry Darth Vader — all on a planet that’s brewing around in darkness and subtle volcanic activity.