Apple has some ambitious augmented-reality projects including AR and VR headsets. These projects are so big that the Cupertino tech giant might need outside help in order to make them succeed. Why should Apple ask other companies to help it realize its goals? Here are some reasons why.

Everybody knows by now that Apple is working on its augmented-reality headset and glasses, both of which are set for release a few years from now. Instead of working on the devices by itself, however, reports say Cupertino is collaborating with another company for the project.

The International Business Times has learned that Apple is collaborating with Valve, maker of Steam, for its AR headset. Considering Valve’s experience, it’s very likely that the headset will be designed for gamers.

Now, why would Apple decide to work with other companies, particularly for a big project that might be the next “one more thing”? Here are a few reasons, as per Cult of Mac:

Reason #1 – So they won’t compete

Valve isn’t the first company to collaborate with Apple on a product. Years ago, the Cupertino tech giant also worked with HP, a competitor. HP released iPod+HP, which is basically an iPod with the HP branding on it.

The product might’ve failed in the market, but the contract gave Apple some benefits – most of which is the non-compete clause that prohibited HP from releasing its own iPod competitor.

Reason #2 – To gain insights

A year after the Apple-HP partnership, Cupertino made a deal with Motorola for a handset that had iTunes. The result of this partnership was the Motorola Rokr phone, a candybar phone that had the iTunes jukebox built in.

Like the iPod+HP, the Rokr also failed, but not after Apple got its much-needed exposure to the cellphone business. The partnership allowed Cupertino to gain the insights it needed for the first iPhone, which was released two years after the Rokr.

Reason #3 – To use third-party tech as placeholders

Aside from acquiring insights and using contracts to prevent competitors from releasing their own offerings, Apple also used third-parties as placeholders until it is able to release its own offering. Take these moves, for example:

  • Apple’s acquisition of NeXT, and its NeXTSTEP operating system, paved the way for Mac OS X to be released.
  • Mac OS X shipped with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer until the company was ready to release its own browser, Safari.
  • Apple’s first iPhone had a CPU based on ARM designs. The tech giant learned from this and developed its in-house A-series processors.

Apple might not say it, but its partnerships with other companies enable it to learn and create its own designs.

Gunnar_Glasses_IBT Pictured: Gunnar glasses Photo: IBT TV