While it seems like everyone in tech is exploring VR or developing for VR, Apple has been slow to catch up. Its Mac computers don’t have support for VR and, even worse, developers can’t properly use Macs to develop VR content. At Worldwide Developer Conference 2017, where it also announced watchOS 4 and glucose tracking for Watch, Apple made it clear that it’s changing that.
Metal 2, Apple’s new and update graphics engine, is getting support for VR. Firstly, this means that Final Cut Pro X is getting support for spherical video editing. It also means that SteamVR SDK, as well as the Unity and Unreal equivalents, are coming to Mac.
But that’s not all. Apple is also updating its Mac line with external GPU support, so that if you don’t have enough graphical power to run VR with a stock Apple configuration you can add it yourself. Every iMac is also getting a big graphics bump, from the entry-level Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 to the more high-end Radeon Pro 580. There’s also going to be a brand new iMac Pro with the Radeon Pro Vega GPU, which Apple calls the most powerful Mac ever.
During its keynote, Apple specifically called out the new iMacs as a “great platform for VR content creation,” though it’s also pretty clear these are short-term solutions until that new Mac Pro comes out. You can’t take VR seriously if you don’t even products that can support VR, whether that’s creating it or consuming it, and you can’t expect VR developers and enthusiasts to take you seriously if you don’t give them what they need. Apple, finally, is changing that.