Oculus won't support Apple, but it's irrelevant

Apple is a love or hate affair, and mocking the company is a popular sport, despite (or probably: because of) its commercial success. Not surprisingly the crowd went wild on Wednesday, when Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said in an interview that they will consider Mac support "if Apple ever releases a good computer". But, if history is any indication, Oculus supporting the Mac or not is completely irrelevant.

As a happy owner of several non-Cupertino-certified gadgets I have no business in defending Apple for Apple's sake. I sincerely believe the Oculus decision is irrelevant, because of three reasons:

1. Gaming is a unique market

Oculus is first and foremost in the gaming industry, and the number of serious gamers using a Mac as a primary gaming machine is exactly zero. Oculus don't need Apple to be successful, and Apple won't lose any customers because of Oculus.

In fact, the two companies won't even directly compete if Apple releases its own VR solution. They will compete for attention and time, for sure, but much less directly than Oculus vs HTC or Oculus vs Sony.

2. Oculus might be the future, but it's a future of few

This needs some explanation, and there's a good to fair chance you won't agree with our assessment. Feel free to use the comment field below.

We are as excited for the Rift or for the HTC Vive as anyone in the virtual reality community. They are the true pioneers of a new industry, and they will be remembered forever. They will continue pushing the limits of VR for many years to come. But they won't make VR successful.

The mainstream success of virtual reality does not depend on the Oculus Rift, much more on Gear VR and LG 360 VR, or even on McDonald's and Coca-Cola, both "offering" a cardboard headset. Computer (or console)-tethered VR kits are not portable, they require a significant investment, and ultimately they are for a specific audience. Phone-powered headsets are for the masses.

Serious gamers hate to admit this, but it wasn't World of Warcraft or Diablo that made gaming mainstream. It was Farmville and Candy Crush.

In fact, we think even the standalone VR computer concept (or AR a la HoloLens) has more mainstream potential in the long term than Oculus.

3. Apple has a history of being late

Apple was not the first launching an MP3 player. It was not the first on the smartphone market, either. The first tablet computers were on sale for years before the company launched its own (if you exclude the Apple Newton, which was both awesome and a flop). Apple's smartwatch is a latecomer. Yet, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad all turned the market upside down (as did Apple Watch in a smaller scale).

Apple is reportedly working on its own VR / AR solution, acquiring half a dozen companies on the way. Sure, we don't know too much about it (MacRumors has a great dossier on the topic). But we can safely assume it will be good, and possibly commercially more successful than the Oculus Rift. If the Rift works with a Mac is (and will be) ultimately irrelevant.