Apple is building a team of experts in virtual and augmented reality, according to a report by the Financial Times.
The unit, which is said to have been working on a prototype handset for several months, is thought to comprise of hundreds of ex-employees from competing companies, including recent acquisition augmented reality start-up Flyby Media.
This news comes following Apple’s acquisition of leading VR researcher Doug Bowman, as well as several former employees from start-up Lytro, which developed the first consumer camera to use “light field optics”.
Apple first made a foray in to virtual reality in the mid-2000s, an endeavour which was abandoned until recently following the emergence of Oculus. Since then, job adverts for software engineers able to integrate VR into newly-created apps have started to appear.
It remains unclear whether the device in development will compete with current VR products on the market or the team will set its sights on a more ambitious augmented-reality device, like the rumoured secret car project.
Apple has refused to comment on the suggested VR initiative.
Brands as diverse as Thomas Cook and Pepsi are trialling VR, signalling the technology’s broadening potential. Click here to read our in-depth report on the growing use of VR in media and marketing.