Apple hasn’t discussed virtual reality very much. Behind the scenes, it has filed a few exciting patents and made some interesting hires, but the company has been otherwise very quiet on VR. That will change next year, according to one expert.

Apple will become “very aggressive on the virtual/augmented reality front through organic as well as acquisitive means in 2016 as this represents a natural next generation consumer technology that plays well into its unrivaled iPhone ecosystem,” FBR & Co analyst Daniel Ives said in a recent note.

Apple already has a patent for an iPhone-powered headset similar to Samsung’s Gear VR. The company also acquired augmented reality firm Metaio earlier this year, and posted a few interesting job listings calling for VR experts.

For now, Ives predicts that Oculus, HTC and Sony will dominate the field once they launch consumer devices next year. However, he says we shouldn’t count out Google Cardboard, GoPro or Microsoft’s HoloLens, the last of which Ives calls the “biggest wild card” thanks to its focus on augmented reality.

Clearly 2016 is set to be a big year for VR, and we don’t expect Apple to sit on the sidelines forever. It’s anyone’s guess if Apple actually steps up in 2016, though.

Source Barron's