Ball’s in your court, Apple
We’re oh-so-very close to the first batch of Rift headsets being shipped out to consumers who pre-ordered the device for $599, all of which will need a relatively powerful Windows PC to tether it to. What about support for Macs? Don’t hold your breath.
When asked by Shacknews if Rift would ever work with Macs, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said, “That’s up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.”
The translation there, if Luckey’s statement needs one, is that Apple’s computers aren’t good enough to run with Rift. Specifically, it’s the graphics hardware Luckey says is lacking.
“It just 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 match our recommended specs. So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”
In case you’re wondering, Oculus Rift requires an Nviida GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better graphics card. The recommended specs also call for an Intel Core i5-4590 or higher CPU, 8GB or more of RAM, HDMI 1.3, two USB 3.0 ports, and Windows 7 SP1 or newer.
The Rift is one of the most anticipated VR headsets, HTC’s Vive being the other. It’s been a long wait for this point—Rift started off as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 where it raised $2.4 million in funding. Then in March 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus for a cool $2 billion.
Rift isn’t a standalone headset. It has to be tethered to a PC, hence the aforementioned recommended requirements. The graphics demands are pretty high because the GPU is driving two optical displays, along with expansive landscapes—you can look all around in Rift.
Apple’s higher end systems come with discrete GPU options, but they’re professional level graphics cards, not ones that are aimed at gaming.