Apple fans will be waiting to see if the iPhone maker puts a culture-changing twist on virtual reality, even as its competitors slow its forays into the metaverse.
All eyes are on whether Apple promises to release VR or augmented reality (AR) “goggles” at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with GQ this week that AR is “exciting” and that, even amidst doubts and criticism, the company has a history of carving its own path in innovation. He fueled speculation by stating that
“I’m not interested in putting together other people’s stuff,” he told GQ, noting that the iPhone and Apple Watch releases were met with serious criticism.
Cook didn’t confirm Apple’s plans for eyewear, instead focusing broadly on the potential of VR or augmented reality, defending the time it takes to release a product to the market.
Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said of products for augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR):
“Everyone knows that if Apple does something, others will follow suit.”
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Apple’s approach to the Metaverse is likely to differ from Meta’s.
Cook’s version of AR highlights a world where Apple products can “overlay” virtual images onto physical products to create better ones.
Meta’s experience in the metaverse has been humble despite being a leader in an emerging sector.
Quest unit gear accounted for more than 80% of “mixed reality” headset shipments at the end of last year, according to Market Tracker Counterpoint.
But less than 18 months after changing its name to Meta to reflect its priorities in the metaverse, the Facebook giant laid off tens of thousands of staff and promised to get back to basics.
Meta’s false start follows the failure of Google Glass. Google Glass, his decade-long effort by the search engine giant, was shut down entirely last month.
“What Meta wants to do and what Apple wants to do are two different things,” Milanesi says.
Meta seeks to create an immersive, digital form of Facebook that relies on advertising to generate revenue, she noted.
Analysts say Apple’s business model encourages people to sell premium devices and consume games, apps, movies, and more with hardware.
For example, Apple can create virtual or augmented reality versions of its streaming TV and music services to give viewers the best virtual seats at movies and concerts.
According to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, the highly anticipated glasses and goggles will play to their strengths while expanding the ecosystem.
“Apple has 2 billion (device) users installed, but Microsoft and Meta are swimming in enemy waters for this market opportunity,” Ives said of the Metaverse’s ambitions.
“This is a strategy for hardware that will enter Apple’s sweet spot as it penetrates further into its customer base.”
beware of rumors
Wedbush believes Apple will unveil the “Glasses” AR/VR headset at its developer conference in June, priced around $2,500, while others have said $3,000.
“Despite some criticism, we believe this is the right strategic move for Apple,” Ives told AFP.
Analysts Techsponential’s Avi Greengart and Enderle Group’s Rob Enderle cautioned to follow Apple’s rumors.
“It seems like an odd time to launch a consumer headset after Facebook lost a lot of money on it,” said Enderle.
“I hope Apple sees what’s written on the wall. But there’s a train on the tracks and it might be hard to stop.”
Greengart believes that the fate of Apple, if it launches any glasses or goggles, will depend on what problem it solves for consumers.
“Metas, Googles and Microsofts all seem to be exiting or downsizing,” Greengart told AFP.
“What the future holds for augmented and virtual reality is an open question.”
© 2023 AFP
Quote: Eyes on Apple to join quest for the metaverse (04/05/2023) Retrieved 04/06/2023 from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-04-eyes-apple-quest-metaverse.html
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