Virtual reality headset fans also carry iPhone for a treat, after Google released an updated version of its YouTube app that radically supports the company’s VR viewer, Cardboard. Here’s how to get started watching YouTube videos using Google’s Cardboard, now lets iOS devices in VR mode.
The update comes a few months after the same feature was added to the Android variant of the app, which is a free one to the existing YouTube app and has began rolling out to Apple devices already, brings a new button to videos that are being played back within the app.
To be clear, YouTube has been able to play 360-degree videos since March. You can watch those by moving your phone around in the air, or clicking-and-dragging with your mouse, Street View-style. Tapping that button on 360-degree video will see that video played just the way it is intended via the magic of VR, while tapping it on any normal video will result in that content shown as if on a large flat screen within a virtual reality world.
Today’s announcement however is different in that in addition to spanning 360-degrees, the videos are now in 3D as well. Using Google Cardboard or any other smartphone powered VR headset, each of your eyes sees a slightly different image, allowing you tp perceive depth and differentiate between near and far objects.
Original Cardboard was an Android-only affair, but with the most recent version of the hardware, released in 2015, adding support for iPhones as though, Google’s hardware – if you can call it that – is currently the cheapest source of virtual reality for anyone carrying an iPhone around. It simply makes immersive content feel much more life-like. With that said, it’s worth noting that 3D comes at the cost of some sharpness due to having your screen essentially split in half.
Virtual reality is pretty much the only time a QuadHD or even 4K panel actually makes an easily noticeable difference on a phone, especially given the fact image is magnified to occupy a greater portion of your field of view. Google’s software departments working to bring updates such as this YouTube one are yet another example of Google’s cross-platform work. The new virtaul reality hardware is said to be a step up from other standalone, smartphone-dependent headsets the likes of Samsung’s Gear VR.
In order to give Cardboard owners a lot more content to play with, and hopefully inspire others to create more VR videos. Google’s already convinced me VR is here to stay, it’s just been missing enough content to make VR viewing a frequent endeavor. Don’t mind! To get those 3D experiences, the videos have to be filmed in 3D in the first place.
The company is expected to announce the aforementioned “Android VR” platform”. With Google I/O 2016 set to get underway this week, if that name is anything to go by, it’s unlikely to be released for iPhones any time soon. This feature is currently only rolling out with the latest update to the Android app, cardboard’s still around, expected it to come to iOS soon.
(Download: YouTube for iOS on the App Store)
YouTube presses play on virtual reality [YouTube Blog]