Apple Virtual Reality
Jobs listings point to virtual reality as one of Apple's next frontiers Reuters

Apple Inc. is taking a hard look at VR. Several job listings posted this week by the company reveal that it is seeking to advance its development of virtual reality hardware and software, a big area of investment for Samsung, Google, Facebook and Sony.

The company is looking to hire for Senior Display Systems Engineer to design and test displays that could be used in a virtual environment, according to a job posting spotted on its website by 9to5Mac. According to another job listing by Apple, it is also looking for Senior Display Software Engineer that can help the company develop code that will power “high fidelity VR environments.”

Apple VR
Apple Inc. is seeking an engineer specializing in virtual reality technology Apple

While not explicitly required, Apple’s job listing notes that experience with motion capturing systems is a “benefit” for a prospective candidate. In 2013, Apple acquired Israel-based Primesense, the semiconductor company behind the first Kinect motion sensor for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Through the acquisition, Apple acquired several patents from the company, including one related to a video headset, according to Patently Apple.

Apple video headset patent
Apple's patent covers a video headset which can use the iPhone or an iPod as a display Patently Apple/USPTO

And last week, the company was granted a patent for a video headset of its own, which could use an iPhone or iPod to power its display. While Apple has mostly remained silent about its VR prospects, virtual reality has been a big interest for tech firms. Samsung’s recently released Gear VR headset which uses a Galaxy Note 4 and Oculus VR technology to power the display. Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion last year. Sony is working on a headset of its own called Project Morpheus. And Google has developed its own budget VR headset with Google Cardboard.

Another area technology companies are looking at is augmented reality (AR). Last month, Microsoft unveiled its prototype HoloLens, which projects 3D images in front of its user. Google had previously experimented with AR technology through its public Google Glass Explorer program. But nearly two years after its launch, it sent it back to the drawing board.