The Stack reports that Apple has been granted a patent for a head-mounted virtual reality display which is designed to temporarily integrate a device such as the iPhone to act as the screen and processing power for the headset.
They also suggest using an extra clicker device as a scroll wheel and for other control functions.
The patent which was filed in January 2015 and granted on the 1st November 2016 appears to simply display the state of the art as we know it at present, but is crucially a continuation of a September 2008 patent, meaning it likely precedes a number of similar devices such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard.
The patent, if enforceable, may represent a massive land grab by litigation-happy Apple, but may be good news for Microsoft for a number of reasons.
One is that Microsoft’s approach is very different, and does not rely on phones due to its obvious weakness in this area.
The other is that Microsoft and Apple have a long-standing cross-licensing agreement which actually precedes this patent, meaning Redmond is likely immune from any fall-out, unlike Google for example.
Apple’s patent, which includes a number of refinements regarding sensing eye position and more, can be seen here.