Early last month, Apple, Inc. announced that the forthcoming virtual reality (VR) compatibility would come via way of a MacOS update known as High Sierra. Closed beta access to the update came at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and now is available to all.
One of the biggest changes incorporated into the High Sierra update is an overhaul of the file organisation system. The new architecture, dubbed the Apple File System, replaces a system designed decades-old Macintosh hardware. The new system is optimised to take advantage of newer technology such as flash-based memory and is configured for better security. Exactly how much of an improvement Apple File System offers will only be known once more people have had the opportunity to work with it.
The operating system also introduced High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), and – perhaps most importantly for VR developers – Metal 2. HEVC is a new industry standard for graphics that allows for up to 40 percent greater compression of video data. That means video files will take up significantly less storage space. Metal 2 adds new capabilities to the way the system manages the graphics processor, allowing it to take advantage of machine learning, external GPU support and VR output, including the HTC Vive.
High Sierra also includes optimised support for other VR elements, such as content creation applications like Final Cut Pro X, Unreal Engine 4, and Unity 2017, which all have VR development as a central component of their application.
The High Sierra update is still considered beta, but no longer has any limitations on who may download it. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Apple’s VR rollout for Mac format PCs.