A steady stream of rumors suggests there’s an Apple in our not-too-distant future, with Apple allegedly making an electric car due to arrive in three years. Whether that’s true or not, the raw result probably won’t be like the Apple car that went viral on social media this week.
You may have seen the retweeted report from a site called VRScout, which wrote a report on Apple’s patent application for an in-vehicle infotainment system built around virtual reality. It reads, “Apple’s self-driving car could feature virtual reality, no windows” Tweet promoting the report.
But what most likely caught people’s attention was the accompanying graphic – a concept image of an Apple car that actually dates back to a December 2020 post on Let’s Go Digital. The car vaguely resembles a black Apple Magic Mouse with wheels attached — so much so that it wouldn’t take much searching to find Twitter wags wondering if you’re charging the car by plugging it in from the bottom.
Apple’s self-driving car could feature VR and no windows: https://t.co/86T8nP1LOX pic.twitter.com/YCwrVrJRjcMay 17 2022
The title and picture set are perfectly painted a miserable portrait of a windowless car rushing down the highway, while passengers trapped inside are strapped into virtual reality headsets, if only to get some reminder of the dreary backdrop outside their car’s grave. . Can’t wait to roll out Apple’s launch event who – which expertise.
But the actual patent itself, which surfaced two weeks ago when Battley Apple highlighted it, paints a much drier picture. Yes, the patent deals with an AR/VR headset designed for self-driving cars, with the idea of providing different use cases for passengers who wouldn’t have to bother driving the car. For business users, a VR headset can provide a way to video chat during travel times, while leisure travelers can use the headset system to watch movies or play games.
The patent also outlines some of the other VR experiences that travelers can enjoy, whether there are points of interest pop up on the headset whether it’s the current city, a virtual location, or even turning your flight into an entirely new experience. These can include things like virtual car chases or escaping through a horrific inferno while virtual zombies chase you. (Yes, the patent specifically calls out the zombie example.) In these types of scenarios, vehicle acceleration and braking will be incorporated into the virtual experience, and 4DX touches like wind blowing in your face are also mentioned.
And yes, the patent also specifies that a VR headset can be used to combat motion sickness caused by driving in a windowless car by giving occupants a virtual view of the outside world. It seems to me that you can achieve the same effect by putting actual windows in your car, but Apple has many patents and I don’t have any, so what do I know?
Here is where we put the usual caveat about patent-centric reporting — just because a company has a patent covering something doesn’t mean you’ll find it in a future product. But it should be clear that what Apple is doing here is patenting something that it can develop later, but which is unlikely to be part of any vehicle the company is working on at the moment.
Just as you have to walk before you can run, you have to build an actual car before you can launch a self-driving, windowless VR entertainment home that looks like it belongs in an amusement park rather than our country’s highways and byways.
Apple Car rumors made Apple produce an electric car sometime around 2025 at the earliest. The EV is rumored to be self-driving, and most of the final leaks surrounding the vehicle at this point involve Apple lining up talent from the auto industry to work on the project.
In the meantime, Apple’s AR/VR headset could debut as early as the end of the year or early 2023, when the device has just been shown on an Apple panel. And this fall, we’re looking forward to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.