It's been a stick that Windows computer owners have been able to beat Mac users with for a few years now, but at WWDC 2017, Apple has finally made a serious commitment to virtual reality.
During the Mac-focused segment of its developer conference, Apple made a series of announcements that brought smiles to the faces of VR fans.
First, it revealed that Metal 2 is now optimized for virtual reality development. But the biggest cheers were reserved for HTC Vive and Steam VR, which are both now officially, natively supported on Apple's computing devices.
For developers, the support will be deep. The SteamVR SDK will be supported alongside two of the most popular VR development engines, Unity and Unreal.
Making the most of its links with the CGI giants at Industrial Light and Magic, Apple showcased the new technology partnerships with a demo showing how ILM creators can now design scenes within virtual reality environments.
Using the HTC Vive's wand-like controller as a palette, an ILM artist was able to create a computer-generated Star Wars scene in real time, complete with cape-flapping Vader and on-demand fiery TIE Fighters.
With virtual reality still looking for its breakthrough moment, native VR support on Apple devices for one of the biggest platforms in the space massively expands its exposure. It's interesting too that Apple focused on creatives and content creation – the Mac has never been known as a gaming platform, so focusing on its core creative user base is a smart, stealthy way to differentiate itself and please its hardcore audience.
- Apple WWDC 2017 live blog: Every announcement, as it happens