During the Mac-focused segment of its developer conference, Apple made a series of announcements that brought smiles to the faces of VR fans.
First, it revealed that Metal 2 is now optimized for virtual reality development. But the biggest cheers were reserved for HTC Vive and Steam VR, which are both now officially, natively supported on Apple's computing devices.
Hey Mac owners! Soon you'll be able to run Vive on macOS! pic.twitter.com/Slr9vWMxr5June 5, 2017
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For developers, the support will be deep. The SteamVR SDK will be supported alongside two of the most popular VR development engines, Unity and Unreal.
Making the most of its links with the CGI giants at Industrial Light and Magic, Apple showcased the new technology partnerships with a demo showing how ILM creators can now design scenes within virtual reality environments.
Using the HTC Vive's wand-like controller as a palette, an ILM artist was able to create a computer-generated Star Wars scene in real time, complete with cape-flapping Vader and on-demand fiery TIE Fighters.
With virtual reality still looking for its breakthrough moment, native VR support on Apple devices for one of the biggest platforms in the space massively expands its exposure. It's interesting too that Apple focused on creatives and content creation – the Mac has never been known as a gaming platform, so focusing on its core creative user base is a smart, stealthy way to differentiate itself and please its hardcore audience.
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.