The Apple Logo Is Pictured Inside The Newly Opened Omotesando Apple Store At A Shopping District In Tokyo
Check out the cool and useful features of the new Apple iOS 9. Pictured above: The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. Reuters/Yuya Shino

Apple is eyeing alternative sources of revenue generation beyond its iPhones, with the company said to have a secret research team of experts working on virtual and augmented reality.

According to The Financial Times, the tech giant has a large team of experts consisting of hundreds of employees working on building virtual reality headset prototypes. The 'secret team' is a result of multiple calculated acquisitions and employing people from companies already working on virtual reality (VR), as disclosed by sources familiar with the matter.

Apple’s latest acquisition of Flyby Media, an augmented reality startup, confirms its VR ambitions. The company develops technology that allows mobile phones to “see” the world around them. Flyby Media also worked with Google on ‘Project Tango.’

Earlier this week, in a conference call to discuss Apple's quarterly results, Tim Cook also hinted about theinterest in virtual reality. “It’s really cool. It has some interesting applications,” said Cook, as reported by CNET.

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In moves that could see Apple become a potential rival to Facebook’s Oculus Rify or Microsoft’s Hololens, the company has, in the past year, hired experts including Doug Bowman, the Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech; former employees of Lytro and technical experts from Microsoft’s Hololens team. Earlier this month, Apple also purchased Emotient Inc., a company that specialises in using artificial-intelligence technology to read people’s emotions.

Many of the biggest tech companies in the world are already focusing on virtual reality and augmented reality. With the growing popularity of the Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens, Sony, Samsung and HTC are some of the firms which have profoundly invested in this domain.