40-odd minutes into Apple's keynote from today's Worldwide Developer Conference Keynote, we were treated to the news that Apple's iMac range is to get Virtual Reality. That's great news if you're an Apple fan!
Through a combination of an OS update from Sierra to... High Sierra (genius!) and Metal 2.0 graphics, iMac will finally be able to handle VR. Working with HTC’s Vive, Apple announced that Steam’s VR SDK will be available for Mac, along with support for Unity and Unreal engines.
The new iMacs are making the move to Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs and the whole range is getting, ‘A big bump in its graphics performance’. The base iMac will be up to 80% faster for base iMac, while all 4k iMacs will get discrete graphics and up to 3x faster performance. The top-of-the-range 5k iMac will have up to 5.5 Tflops graphic compute.
Apple VR Announced
Our ears perked up when we heard the phrase, ‘Which makes it a great platform for VR content’. And our eyes perked up when we were treated to a demo of building a Star Wars scene in VR in real-time from ILMxLAB’s John Knoll. Complete with a crashed TIE fighter on the surface of Planet Mustafar, an imperial shuttle, more fighters overhead and... Darth Vader. All at a stable 90fps.
Knoll not only said that these tools, “Will enable the next generation of storytellers,” but also that, “This content can be made by the same people who (create) the films - and that’s incredibly powerful.” We wouldn’t disagree...
The new iMacs are shipping today.
More pictures of the Star Wars construction demo on iMac from WWDC:
Apple isn't the only tech co to use the Star Wars franchise to demonstrate its VR capabilities in recent weeks; Google also visited a universe far, far away at its I/O 17 event.