In a series of articles this week, I have been discussing the iPhone 8’s potential to be a kick-ass virtual reality machine in the vein of the Samsung Gear VR. After a few years of slow interactions, the stakes are higher than ever for Apple to impress and sell a bazillion billion iPhones. To impress the masses, Apple is putting together a phone that blows all other virtual reality phones out of the water.
As I mentioned in my past few articles, the iPhone 8’s screen is key to the success of the virtual reality mode that will make the iPhone 8 super-duper great. The iPhone 8’s screen will have two features that will make it work better than any other cell phone currently on the market.
Hi-Resolution Screen and a 120Hz Refresh Rate
The first of these features, a near 2k screen resolution, doesn’t help the iPhone beat out other phones. Instead, it will allow the iPhone 8 to reach virtual reality resolution parity with other near 2k phones like Samsung’s offerings. The second of these features is an extraordinarily high refresh rate of 120hz. I will admit, this is highly speculative.
Found in the newest iPad Pro, Apple has a new screen tech that allows the ultra-smooth animation to be displayed at a rate that is double of what most smartphones can do. High refresh rates like this are only found in high-end headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Combined, the iPhone 8 will have a hell of a screen for virtual reality.
Beyond the Screen
Although the aforementioned super-screen would be enough to make Apple fanboys and fangirls virtual reality dreams come true, I believe there are a few extra important components that will make Apple’s virtual reality that much better than everyone else’s pitiful contrivances. These extra components will provide amazing augmented reality features that will pair with virtual reality in a way that Google’s Tango fans have been begging Google for since it was announced that a few Tango phones could also Daydream.
Don’t believe me? With the release of the iOS 11 beta, developers have been going bananas with Apple’s new augmented reality API. The API makes developing augmented reality applications so much easier than traditional approaches that required developing custom computer vision software. Beyond making it easy for developers to implement augmented reality, developers are saying that the augmented reality machine learning goes above and beyond most other augmented reality applications.
Better than Tango
One developer has told me that Apple’s augmented reality is “that much better than anything Google is doing, even when considering Google’s Project Tango.” This is crazy given that Tango phones require extra hardware to do many of the same tasks. Apple’s augmented reality only requires a fair amount of processing power from an A8 processor or up.
Apple’s augmented reality could easily be combined with virtual reality to provide a high quality 6DOF tracking much in the vein of Google’s WorldSense. At this point, even if Apple chooses not to go forward with a specialized virtual reality headset, the Apple phone would still kick ass as a Google Cardboard headset.