Apple has announced that it has helped form a new alliance that will help drive an open standard for the creation of 3D content, ready for the launch of its Vision Pro mixed reality headset in the first part of 2024.
The new alliance includes Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and NVIDIA, and is sure to help companies create content that can be viewed on headsets like Apple's. The Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD) will "promote the standardization, development, evolution, and growth of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description technology."
The alliance will go on to develop new specifications that will detail the features of OpenUSD, theoretically ensuring future compatibility between devices and content types no matter the companies attached to them.
A grand 3D vision
Apple announced the new alliance in a press release, saying that "by promoting greater interoperability of 3D tools and data, the alliance will enable developers and content creators to describe, compose, and simulate large-scale 3D projects and build an ever-widening range of 3D-enabled products and services."
“OpenUSD will help accelerate the next generation of AR experiences, from artistic creation to content delivery, and produce an ever-widening array of spatial computing applications,” Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Vision Products Group, said via the statement. The Vision Products Group is the one behind Vision Pro and, presumably, future iterations. “Apple has been an active contributor to the development of USD, and it is an essential technology for the groundbreaking visionOS platform, as well as the new Reality Composer Pro developer tool. We look forward to fostering its growth into a broadly adopted standard.”
The popularity and success of Vision Pro and the headsets that follow it will very likely come down to how readily available content created specifically for its strengths becomes. This alliance is clearly aimed at ensuring that content will be not only available moving forward, but also compatible into the future.
Apple's first headset is set to go on sale in early 2024, but there's plenty happening before then. Apple still has the iPhone 15 to announce, while its best iPhones — the iPhone 15 Pro series — are likely to also arrive in the same expected September timeframe.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.