Apple has been granted a patent for an iPhone-compatible headset, sparking speculation the company might be looking to compete against Google and Samsung in the rapidly evolving virtual reality (VR) market.
The patent for a "head-mounted display" would allow the user to slot an iPhone into the device and view whatever is on the screen through the headset.
While the filing does not explicitly mention virtual reality – the simulation of a physical presence in virtual worlds -- analysts said Apple was likely to be working towards this area, although it could be some time away.
"It would be astonishing for Apple not to be investigating VR," Ian Fogg, head of mobile at IHS, told CNBC by phone. Apple did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Samsung has already produced a similar headset – the Gear VR – which works with a Samsung smartphone.