AWT News Update: March 3, 2016

VR, Watch Faces, and Star Wars make it into today's Apple news:

  • Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey basically says it will be a cold day in Hell when his Oculus Rift headset works with Macs
  • A free tool is now available in the App Store if you want to design your own Watch faces (although complications are missing...)
  • It's time to pre-order Star Wars: The Force Awakens, coming to iTunes on April 1, 2016

The text version (with links) is available below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 3, 2016

So, you’ve been hearing all of the hype about the Oculus Rift VR headset for years now, and you’ve finally decided that maybe it’s time to get your name on the list to buy one. Well, if you have a Mac, forget about it, because not only are Macs not on the approved hardware list, but Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey today pretty much dissed all of Apple’s hardware. Talking to the ShackNews website at the Microsoft Windows 10 Showcase in San Francisco, Luckey was asked whether Oculus would support OS X. His response was that it depends on whether Apple ever “releases a good computer”. The Oculus Rift requires ridiculous amounts of graphics performance, and Luckey said that “it boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs. You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700 and it still doesn’t meet our recommended spec. If they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for awhile back in the day, I think we’d love to support Mac.” Luckey was even more insulting about Macs, which got me to thinking — perhaps his much-delayed product is poorly-designed if it requires such a high-end GPU to drive it. Listeners should recall Tim Cook’s comment during the last earnings call, when he perked up when asked about virtual and augmented reality. Since that point, various sources have said that Apple has a rather large team looking into VR and AR, and it would be fantastic if the company could ship a competing headset that just required the brains of a newer iPhone or iPad. Not requiring overkill in terms of a PC and having a huge library of apps available would definitely build a much larger audience than will probably ever be available for Oculus, and we’d be willing to bet that Oculus wouldn’t be around for long.

Tired of the few Watch faces that you currently have? For quite a while, there’s been a smartwatch customization platform for Android called Facer. Facer has now made it to the iOS App Store, allowing Watch users to try a bunch of free watch faces, buy premium brands, and even create their own watch faces using a web-based design tool. Facer is a free app now on the iTunes App Store, so be sure to give it a try.

Want to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on your Apple TV or iOS device? You’ll be able to starting on April 1st, when the digital copy of the blockbuster movie becomes available. According to the iTunes Store, the movie will be available for $19.99 in HD or $14.99 for the SD version. Pre-orders can be made today. If you’re still into physical media, the Blu-ray release will happen on April 5th along with good old DVD.

We’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of the AWT News Update.