Microsoft blew some socks off last week when it unveiled the HoloLens, a new piece of augmented reality hardware running on the new Windows Holographic platform.
Basically, HoloLens and Windows Holographic work together seamlessly to let you interact with virtual elements that appear in the real world when you’re wearing Microsoft’s eyewear. It offered a glimpse at how certain industries — DIY, architecture, design, engineering, and entertainment, for starters — could be forever changed thanks to this technology, and it showed how developers and content-makers can create truly immersive, even magical experiences.
Plenty of other companies are working on similar augmented or virtual reality projects, like Google, Facebook, and Samsung. But Apple has not announced any such project — which is interesting when you consider the company was researching a solution at least two years ago.
Apple’s system lets you — stop me if you’ve heard this before — interact with projected images that appear to hang in mid-air, even letting you control and manipulate those virtual objects with the swipes and gestures iOS users are used to, like pinch to zoom.
Of course, most patents, especially those from Apple, rarely come to fruition. But, Apple is also famously secretive about the projects in its pipeline, so there is a slight chance Apple is quietly working on its own virtual or augmented experiences, which Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff believes will change the face of computing as we know it. If it isn’t, Apple stands to miss out on the next big thing in technology.