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The Apple Store is now selling an iPhone-compatible VR headset

Posted: , by Mihai A.

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The Apple Store is now selling an iPhone-compatible VR headset
Just last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that his company is keeping a close eye on virtual reality technology, a comment that was soon followed by a report claiming that Apple actually has a secret team working on VR

Today, it was discovered that the Apple Store is selling a beefed up version of a Google Cardboard headset called the Mattel View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack. Priced at $29.95, this is the first VR headset to make its way into the Apple Store.

If you've ever heard about the Google Cardboard project, then you already know all about the principle behind the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack. In essence, the headset is actually made up of a set of lens and a plastic case (not cardboard this time around) that's designed to hold an iPhone. The VR set can work any Apple smartphone starting with the iPhone 5 and up.

The iPhone, through a special app, displays two separate video streams. The user peeks at the content through the lens, and due to the slight differences in the two video streams, the user's brain perceives a single 3D image instead of two separate 2D ones.


As the name implies, the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter pack only comes with demo versions of its VR apps. To unlock the full versions of Space, Wildlife with National Geographic, and Destinations, the apps that the View-Master VR headset was designed to run, customers have to pay extra. 

Interestingly, View-Master has decided to go for an old-school approach when it comes to the apps, as customers have to purchase physical cartridges ($14.95 each) that unlock the full versions of the corresponding apps, which are free to download from the App Store. The headset is also compatible with Google Cardboard for iOS.

Aside from the construction and the app compatibility, there's no difference between the Google Cardboard and the View-Master VR. The higher-end, better-built, and pricier Samsung Gear VR adds some extra sensors and a trackpad, but still relies on a (Samsung) smartphone for the processing and the display. At the opposite side of the spectrum, next-gen VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift, the Sony Playstation VR and the HTC Vive will all come with built-in displays and will rely on powerful PCs to do all the processing work.

source: Apple via CultOfMac

46 Comments
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posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:31 1

1. marorun (Posts: 3430; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


And also come with load of sensor to detect head movement ect.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:41 4

4. mihai.a (Posts: 47; Member since: 15 Apr 2015)


Actually, the phone's accelerometer is used to track head movements on the Google Cardboard and on the View-Master VR set.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:01 20

23. sgodsell (Posts: 3492; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


The only problem is Apples low resolution iPhone 6/6s is a joke when it comes to VR. A lot of people don't realize the the display is split in two. So a 1334x750 iPhone 6/6s display has a resolution of only 667x750 per eye. No wonder why Apple never got into VR before. Idiots were telling people that Quad HD is overkill. However a Quad HD display has a resolution of 1280x1440 per eye.

The other thing is this Mattel View Master has already been out for Android.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:06 1

25. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


It's actually even worse than that, the display is not only divided, but the images displayed on either side are shrunken down as well.

I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that this is so that the viewer sees none of the bezel or the edge of the screen and sees only screen that is magnified through the lenses, for immersion, I imagine.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 20:13 1

34. cheetah2k (Posts: 1539; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


yep gonna be back to 1980's VGA for Apple users BWAHAHA

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 06:52

46. Landon (Posts: 456; Member since: 07 May 2015)


...and even with a Quad HD display on the Note 5, you still get a "screen-door" effect when using the Gear VR. Samsung and other phone manufacturers would be smart to produce a phone specifically for VR that has a 4K display, while still offering a Quad HD phones for most regular consumers.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 20:49

37. engineer-1701d (unregistered)


sucks you got to hold it

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 04:12 1

41. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


It just sucks. Period. VR on current Apple phones will be CGA resolution.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:34

2. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


Ahaha wow I bought this very same headset for $7 at H-E-B just last night.

It performs excellently and even fits my V10, so I guess the Plus iPhones should fit fine, although the video will look grainier on them.

Overall it looks very good, the latch on top is made to look like the part of the disks that would stick out on the traditional View-Masters, and the lever to tap the phone's screen is also made to look like the lever on the original View-Master.

I have yet to try the 3 cartridges that came with it or download the compatible app, but I bought it to use as a Google Cardboard headset more than anything.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:21 8

18. Finalflash (Posts: 2868; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


VR with qHD looks unacceptable so with Apple resolutions you could probably count the pixels on one hand in that thing. They have got to be kidding if they intend on getting into the VR game with their current screens.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:52 3

22. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


It's just passable with QHD, and it's the best thing for VR on a smartphone short of an Xperia Z5 Premium. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:05 3

24. sgodsell (Posts: 3492; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Quad HD (2560x1440) is really good in my opinion. Remember a display is split in two. So Quad HD has a resolution of 1280x1440 per eye. Whereas an iPhone 6/6s display only has a resolution of 667x750 per eye. There is almost 4 times the resolution for a Quad HD display vs the pathetic iPhone 6/6s display. Forget the tiny 4" iPhone. IPhone 6/6s and VR is a joke.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:08

27. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


It's definitely the best thing widely available at the moment. I was satisfied with VR on my V10 but I would definitely opt for higher pixel density for VR if it were possible.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:37 7

3. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 9532; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


Hah! A toy that fits around another toy. Oculus/Samsung is dying laughing at these stupid poor excuse for copycats.

The iPhone 7 won't save you now Apple.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:42 12

5. TerryTerius (Posts: 1672; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


Save apple from what?

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:01 6

10. Jimrod (Posts: 1184; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


From his continual delusional rants...

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:02 5

12. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2358; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Lol my thoughts exactly.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:37 4

19. darkkjedii (Posts: 20631; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


That's what I'm wondering. 2nd most valuable company, with nearly 200 billion in cash, needs saving form what exactly lol. Trolls gotta troll bro.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 23:35 1

39. RajRicardo (Posts: 391; Member since: 28 Feb 2014)


Nokia used to be in such sweet spot. Look where it is now. :/

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 04:13

42. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


Well, just a little while ago it was #1. The future is looking bleak...

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:16 4

16. Ninetysix (Posts: 2340; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Dumb comment is dumb. The item is also available from amazon, walmart, best buy, etc. It has nothing to do with the iPhone 7 brosephine.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 18:23 2

32. Unordinary (Posts: 1444; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


While Playstation VR is laughing at them all.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:46 1

6. xocomaox (Posts: 125; Member since: 14 Dec 2015)


This is incredibly cheap for an Apple product. I am actually quite shocked.

Too bad apple doesn't have the ppi for VR just yet, but they will get there in late 2016 I'm sure.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:49 7

8. mihai.a (Posts: 47; Member since: 15 Apr 2015)


This is not an Apple product. The Apple Store is filled with third-party accessories, and this is one of them.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:49 7

7. DRS1977 (Posts: 431; Member since: 27 May 2015)


The PPi on the iPhone is horrible. I can't imaging how terrible this looks compared to the Gear VR. Apple always trying to copy others.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:39 3

20. darkkjedii (Posts: 20631; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


"Apple always trying to copy others." Who set in motion back in 2007, the way phones, and OS's today look?

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:38 5

29. DRS1977 (Posts: 431; Member since: 27 May 2015)


The LG Prada, thanks.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:48 3

30. TerryTerius (Posts: 1672; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


The LG Prada did indeed come out a few months before the iPhone. But I severely doubt in that short time frame Apple copied it's design, and that it is responsible for the modern phone. The iPhone is indisputably the one that popularized the near-buttonless candy bar slab touch screen, no matter how you or I feel about Apple. The world copied Apple, not LG.

Much in the same way that the Cadillac type 53 was the first car to have a modern layout, but did not popularize it.

Credit where it's due.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 20:31

35. lyndon420 (Posts: 4145; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


If we play by the same rules as apple, the credit then goes to Mr Roddenberry. I wanted a tricorder long before the iPhone was conceived.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 15:55 4

9. SirYar (Posts: 351; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)


With only 720p resolution? That's just not going to work!

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:08 2

26. sgodsell (Posts: 3492; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


It's actually less. It's only 667x750 for an iPhone 6/6s.

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 04:14 2

43. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


Even less as you have margins for the lenses ~10% so maybe 600x650 res? LOL! Welcome to the 80s!

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:02

11. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2358; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Vr sucks anyway not enough apps to make me buy one especially one that cost more than $30.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:13

13. RoboticEngi (Posts: 635; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)


Icopy once again.....

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:14 5

14. Ninetysix (Posts: 2340; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


It's not an Apple product LOL... You guys are clueless.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 23:11

38. RoboticEngi (Posts: 635; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)


I know, and in a year from now it's not sold by Apple anymore, because they copied it.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:15 3

15. tedkord (Posts: 10915; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Wow, VR isn't really acceptable at QHD. I can't imagine it at FHD or HD.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:49 1

21. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


From what I saw personally on my V10 with this headset, VR is just passable with QHD, seeing the pixels was distracting.

I also tried it with my brother's S5 and it was unsurprisingly worse. The Plus iPhones have even less pixel density than that so I don't believe VR and iPhones are a good combination in any situation.

I'll be trying the headset with a 3rd gen Moto G to try to approximate how VR would be on a normal iPhone 6/6s.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 16:16 2

17. zeppo (Posts: 66; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)


Nowadays, all Apple do is copying gimmicky ideas from Samsung. Now they try to patent air view-like features from Galaxy S5

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 17:11 2

28. Macready (Posts: 906; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)


Uh, the Samsung VR has built in sensors that are much more sensitive than those found in phones, a built in touch pad and buttons and diopter adjustment. It's not just the construction that differentiates these headsets...

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 18:04 1

31. Baracus (Posts: 223; Member since: 15 Sep 2012)


The pitiful resolution of the iPhone screen will look all pixilated to Hell on this.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 18:24

33. Unordinary (Posts: 1444; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


Looks nice and HD on my Google Cardboard:)

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 04:15 1

44. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


Then you're blind. Even QHD is far too low really.

posted on 02 Feb 2016, 20:38

36. ibend (Posts: 4253; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


look cheap...
but I like how it resemble deadpool :D

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 01:17

40. obedchuni (Posts: 159; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)


I think that techieXP will use his iphone 4s with this VR, the iphone 4s which has 1GB ram, as well....I think that apple should go for VR as their phones are top on gaming

posted on 03 Feb 2016, 04:16

45. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 450; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


In 5 years when Apple phones have caught up on resolution and GPU with today's Androids they will likely "innovate" VR and sue everyone else.

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