Apple and the immersive web: things are happening


Image: Unsplash / Sumudu Mohottige

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Apple is interested in the immersive Web: a key developer of WebXR joins the company and could prepare Safari XR.

With WebXR, AR and VR apps run directly in the browser. App downloads are becoming obsolete because launching an experience is as easy as navigating to a URL. This simplifies access to immersive content and potentially accelerates the development of virtual reality and augmented reality. Currently, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox support WebXR, Safari does not (Again?).

The WebXR standard is maintained and developed by the Immersive Web Group. The working group works on behalf of the W3Cwhich deals with the standardization of WWW interfaces.

WebXR lead developer now works for Apple

Three web developers chair the Immersive Web Group: Ada Rose Cannon from Samsung, Ayşegül Yönet from Microsoft and Chris Wilson from Google. Cannon recently announced its move to Apple by Twitter.

Cannon’s expertise could benefit Safari VR and AR support. The question is whether any support goes through a WebXR integration or a proprietary Apple interface. If Apple’s past corporate philosophy is any indicator, the latter is more likely.


Apple is developing its own XR standards

Apple also insisted on its own standards for XR so far. The tech giant objected to the 3D file format of the Khronos Group with USDZ. Apple is also one of the few big tech players that didn’t participate in the workbench. Open XR Standard.

That developer Maximiliano Firtman found experimental WebXR features in Safari earlier this year raises even more hope. It assumes that Apple is planning WebXR support for the Safari browser – for a headset that has yet to be announced and is expected to arrive early next year. Apple should then unveil its own XR strategy, including interface support.


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