Microsoft is piloting Mac OS support for its social service AltspaceVR.
The test is “intended to help us better understand the feasibility of expanding AltspaceVR to Mac OS” and you can give it a try right now. Microsoft is careful to note that some features and events aren’t supported on Mac OS, including Microsoft-linked accounts. The page for the app also notes that iPhone and iPad support is not included either.
“Full support for Mac OS is pending investigation and is not guaranteed,” the page notes.
Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR in 2017 after the startup ran out of cash and nearly shuttered. In recent months, Altspace avatars from the cross-platform social service have been shown used with Microsoft’s Mesh service for collaboration in VR and AR.
Both Microsoft and Apple are very interested in AR, but the ambitions at each company toward VR are still unclear. Apple is said to be developing a VR headset with very strong AR capabilities while Microsoft just won a major contract from the U.S. military to develop AR headsets. Microsoft was an early supporter of the Windows Mixed Reality platform on PCs and more recent efforts support the OpenXR initiative to make it easier for developers to build apps that run on a wide range of devices. Apple, meanwhile, is in transition as it rolls out Apple-designed silicon chips to its Mac computers that bring many of the performance benefits of iPhones and iPads to laptops and desktops. Behind the scenes, the switchover to Apple silicon could have lasting effects on the software development ecosystem.