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Apple Hiring VR Experts to Battle Samsung

Pinć, an upcoming third-party VR headset for iPhone 6. Credit: Cordon Media

(Image credit: Pinć, an upcoming third-party VR headset for iPhone 6. Credit: Cordon Media)

The next Samsung-Apple smartphone battle could take place in the world of virtual reality. With Samsung's Gear VR headset slated to hit stores in a few weeks, Apple has created a new job listing for app developers well-versed in virtual reality, suggesting that it may not be long before we're strapping iPhones to our heads.

As discovered by 9to5Mac, the App Engineer job listing on Apple's website says that the ideal candidate will work on user interfaces for "next-generation software experiences," and will "create high performance apps that integrate with virtual reality systems." Among the job requirements mentioned are 3D graphics programming experience, knowledge of both virtual and augmented reality and familiarity with both iOS and OS X, with the latter suggesting that Apple's plans for virtual reality might not be limited to mobile.

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It's unclear if Apple itself is building virtual reality hardware and software for the iPhone, but a third-party company already is. Launched this week on Indiegogo, Cordon Media's Pinć device (pictured above) is an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus case that folds out to become a virtual reality headset for Apple's smartphone. The in-development peripheral is designed largely with shoppers in mind, as it could eventually allow users to walk through a virtual mall and "pick up" objects they'd normally just see a picture of when shopping online. If successfully crowdfunded, the $100 accessory will arrive in June 2015.

Mobile virtual reality will make its mainstream debut next month with the Samsung Gear VR, an Oculus-developed headset that connects to the company's Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. Samsung has some prominent content partners for the $200 device, meaning you'll be able to use it to walk through Marvel's Avengers mansion, watch a virtual Coldplay concert or play an immersive version of Temple Run.

There's very little concrete info that suggests Apple is working on something similar for the iPhone. However, just as the company is entering the wearables arena with next year's Apple Watch, it would be a surprise to see Apple stay out of the virtual reality space if the Gear VR is a success. Perhaps the company could capitalize on both the Gear VR's limited capability and its own focus on cross-platform functionality by creating a virtual reality headset that works with any of your iOS and OS X gadgets.

Sources: 9to5Mac, Apple

Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook.