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Virtual reality is becoming quite the interesting field to watch. Samsung, HTC and Oculus all have VR offerings in development or on the way, with each hoping to be the company that creates something successful and accessible enough to claim the title as the first major company to bring virtual reality to the masses.

But a lot of what’s kept virtual reality from the mainstream isn’t just the dominant attention of the tech on the gaming industry or the bulky, cumbersome devices that facilitate this technology. No, it’s the fact that while these big and respectable companies are dipping their toes in the VR water, there isn’t a true tech behemoth that has devoted their extensive resources and pocketbooks to the cause. That may be changing soon.

TIME magazine confirms that Apple has hired Doug Bowman, a computer science professor at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction, to possibly head their burgeoning virtual reality department. Bowman is viewed by many as a leading expert in VR, conducting research that has won him awards in the field of technical advancement and achievement in electronics and graphics.

Acquiring Bowman is what many tech insiders believe to be the next step in Apple’s pursuit of some sort of virtual reality offering. Bowman’s hiring follows two key developments last year: Apple’s purchase of motion-capture company Faceshift and their acquisition of augmented reality startup Metaio. The work these two companies perform could be the tools Apple needs to develop a virtual reality device of their own.

At this point, Apple’s foray into any kind of VR tech is all speculation, as the company has confirmed nothing yet. Still, it’s hard to deny the writing that’s already on the wall. If there’s one thing to never bet against, it’s Apple smacking their logo on some newfound technological gizmo and turning it into a consumer’s wet dream. Apple may not be cooking up anything at all on the VR front, but one thing’s for certain – the mainstream perception of virtual reality certainly would benefit should Apple decide to throw its hat into the ring.

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