Yes, you can experience virtual reality (VR) with an iPad (or more specifically, especially because of size, the iPad Mini).
As you can probably guess, it looks a little odd. If you thought that Google Cardboard with the smartphone looked strange, then sticking an iPad on your face is even stranger. But, instead of imagining it, take a look for yourself, with this video:
AirVR is a big proponent of this iPad VR trend. Though, that trend started about three years ago. It is a good sign that it hasn’t gone away yet, even with its strange appearance.
AirVR has done a nice job with the graphics, above, in the video, but we do wish that they would work a bit on the sound and maybe sound a little excited about the product. But, hey, the idea is to see if we want to use an iPad for VR and how feasible it is, right?
Pros and Cons of the iPad VR Experience
The Pros of using an iPad (Mini) for the virtual reality experience is that you can benefit from the graphics, as well as all of the features that make the iPad awesome in the first place. Also, with the newer iPads, you can obtain cellular service (as opposed to the really old iPads, from way back when, as in the original iPads). This is a matter of chatting with your mobile service provider and obtaining a SIM card for your iPad. So, you don’t have to worry about cellular coverage or any sacrifices in that department when it comes to selecting the iPad over the iPhone for your VR experience.
The Cons that will come your way with the iPad VR is that it is funny looking and, uh, big. It is like a large board across your face and possibly that can affect your ability to breathe. Yes, you can breathe, but let’s face it, it is a bit of an awkward device for VR. Then again, as you can see from the AirVR video, they have thought of everything when it comes to adapting the thing for your face.
One other possible challenge is that you may not have the same mobility as you would with the smartphone VR. In fact, you won’t have the same mobility (no pun intended). But, the question is how much mobility you really need. Possibly, the iPad setup is just perfect the way it is and the mobility and movement aspect is not a disadvantage at all.
What is on Amazon for the Tablet/iPad?
One could spend hours (literally) searching for the perfect viewer or other gear for the iPad VR experience, on Amazon. And, even after that hour of searching, it is possible that nothing pops. A couple of different things are happening. In some cases, you may find an iPad case (no pun intended) and the vendor has included the acronym “VR” in the title and that is why it shows up as if it is a viewer. (True story! I saved you from the unpleasant experience of following that useless link.)
In other cases, like the example we are about to use, it is yet another situation. In that case, the iPad VR gear is normal VR gear that is accessed a certain way.
How is that, you ask? By using a smart controller (remote control).
To help explain this a bit easier, let’s take a look at the example >> “Ecoastal 2016 New Version 3D VR Virtual Reality Glasses Headset with Remote Wireless Controller, Focal & Pupil Distance adjustment” (affiliate).
We are not necessarily recommending this bundle (although it looks pretty good) but we are using it as an example. If you visit that bundle, scroll down the list of features. At the bottom of the list of features, you will notice verbiage that explains it all. It mentions that the bundle can be used with a tablet as long as the remote control is used. Of course, an example of a tablet is the iPad or iPad Mini, even though those are not the only tablets out there.
With the remote control capability, we have the ability to do quite a few things. Add that Bluetooth technology and you are connecting this with that and vice versa. That is the magic of being able to use the iPad for VR. Or, at least it is one way.