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Apple’s View-Master virtual reality headset now available for purchase

Apple’s virtual reality headset View-Master has been added to its online store - the first VR product that Apple has sold - in collaboration with toy company Mattel.

Shoppers can buy the headset for $30 at Apple’s online store. It is not yet available in-store.

View-Master pioneered “stereoscopic 3D” headsets, first introduced in 1939, which featured a series of cardboard reels with views of toys, cartoons and film and TV snapshots. Now View-Master has been upgraded for the age of virtual reality.

In February 2015, Mattel announced a collaboration with Google to upgrade the offering of View-Master based on virtual reality using smartphones. The new View-Master is a version of Google Cardboard’s VR platform, and is accompanied by a mobile app.

The phone is inserted into the back of the unit, so content is displayed on the smartphone screen, offering viewers the opportunity to see 360-degree panoramas, 3D models, and minigames. The phone is used as both the processor and the screen of the tech.

The View-Master differs from traditional Google Cardboard models since it is made out of sturdy plastic, and instead of using velcro or a rubberband to keep your phone in place, it features a three-clamp design that solidly locks your handset down.

The View-Master app has an augmented reality component, so viewers scan a View-Master "reel" using a smartphone camera, which in turn projects 3D scapes like space.

Apple has shown significant interest in VR technology recently, with CEO Tim Cook saying the technology is "really cool and has some interesting applications."

It's not the first company to jump on the VR bandwagon, with Disney investing in VR to adapt its stories with the way people consume content, and Samsung opening a studio dedicated to the production of VR content.