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Innovative VR startup discusses Mac and Oculus Rift—Apple and VR Future

Apple’s Macs may be missing the VR party in early 2016, but pro VR software developer, irisVR, whose award-winning tech has already garnered much attention (and funding..), has interesting observations about VR and Apple.


New York City-based virtual reality software startup, irisVR and its CEO has discussed the issues surrounding the denial of Mac support in the Oculus Rift VR headset.

In a feature interview on Architosh, Shane Scranton, CEO and Co-Founder, talks about the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive device and their company’s software in professional application settings. Which of the two devices—the Oculus Rift or Vive is better for pro apps? Scranton details the orientations of each company and device direction as well as fully explains where the Mac has landed on the eve of the VR explosion taking shape in 2016.

MORE: irisVR CEO and Co-Founder Talks About Pro VR Industry—Oculus versus Vive and More

“We are disappointed but understand,” says Scranton. “I am sure the Oculus folks don’t want to exclude Macs; everything [in VR] is about the GPU and the requirements are pretty high. So in essence, VR taxes the GPUs and they throw off a lot of heat. This is very contrary to what Apple is about in terms of the design of their hardware.”

Apple and VR in the Future

The irisVR CEO feels that Apple has VR product plans behind the scenes but like always Apple’s customers are just going to have to wait to find out what Apple does to support this VR revolution.

Apple has filed interesting VR patents in the past, which we have covered here in this report. “Yes, and we are aware of those,” says Scranton. “The industry doesn’t know what Apple has planned but we all know they have something in the works.” In the interview Scranton does actually suggest where Apple is going with VR.

02 - irisVR solutions were largely developed on Apple's Macs, but the Oculus Rift's dismissal of the Mac due to GPU performance thresholds means there will be no irisVR solution for Mac when the official release happens. That shouldn't mean users should by-pass this award-winning company and its technology solutions.

02 – irisVR solutions were largely developed on Apple’s Macs, but the Oculus Rift’s dismissal of the Mac due to GPU performance thresholds means there will be no irisVR solution for Mac when the official release happens. That shouldn’t mean users should by-pass this award-winning company and its technology solutions.

Scranton mentions in the interview that it is very possible, given the nature of GPU progress, that upcoming Macs may meet the minimum support hardware thresholds, so Apple customers may find relief and optionality a bit later in the year.

irisVR—Developed on the Mac

Scranton met Architosh editor-in-chief, Anthony Frausto-Robledo, at the Vectorworks Design Summit in Philadelphia in the spring of 2015, where the irisVR folks were one of a dozen partner vendors for the company’s global customer conference.

While their development on the Vectorworks VR support plugin is still in the works, today irisVR works with Trimble SketchUp and Autodesk Revit natively, while also supporting the OBJ file format popular in 3D.

Future support will be for the popular applications Rhino, Blender and Vectorworks.

Future of Apple and VR

The future of VR in the professional application market looks big and shiny if attendance and interest in VR vendors at recent conferences is any indication. This is partly why Scranton and his co-founder have taken a bold approach in pushing for the enterprise adoption of gear like Vive and Oculus.

MORE: AIA: Looking at the VR (virtual reality) craze in Atlanta

But Apple is also pushing in enterprise. So how can it afford to leave its Macs out of the VR software revolution coming to industries like AEC (architecture, engineering and construction)? The answer is probably it can’t and won’t. Scranton doesn’t think Apple is ignoring VR so much as working behind the scenes…on products!

To learn more about irisVR go here. But to hear more about Apple and VR and what may be in the works, read our full interview.

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