All eyes are on Apple to join the quest for the metaverse

Apple CEO Tim Cook fueled the speculation in an interview this week.

  • All eyes are on whether Apple will release the long-rumored VR or augmented reality glasses at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
  • Apple’s approach to the metaverse will likely differ from Meta’s.
  • The much-anticipated Spectacles, or Spectacles, will play to Apple’s strengths while expanding its ecosystem.
  • For more information, visit technology and trends main page.

Apple fans are watching to see if the iPhone maker puts a culture-changing spin on virtual reality, even as rivals slow their march into the metaverse.

All eyes are on whether Apple will release long-rumored VR or augmented reality (AR) “glasses” at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where developers and software companies are eager to provide content.

Apple chief Tim Cook fueled speculation in an interview with GQ this week, saying that AR is “exciting” and that the company has a history of going its own way with innovation, even in the face of doubt and criticism.

“I’m not interested in picking up the pieces of someone else’s stuff,” he told GQ, saying that both the iPhone and Apple Watch launches had their serious detractors.

Cook did not confirm Apple’s plans for the glasses, instead focusing more broadly on the promise of VR, or augmented reality, and defending the time it will take to bring the product to market.

“Apple will try to put its own spin on it and then blow the others into the water,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said of augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) products.

“We all know that when Apple gets into something, others follow.”

Apple Music concerts.

Apple’s approach to the metaverse will likely differ from that of Meta, which has proclaimed it the future of the Internet but has slowed its significant investments as part of a general belt-tightening.

Cook’s version of AR highlights a world where Apple products can “transform” the real with virtual images to create something better.

Meta’s track record with the metaverse has been humble, despite being a leader in the emerging sector.

Gear, from its Quest division, accounted for more than 80 percent of “mixed reality” headset shipments late last year, according to market tracker Counterpoint.

But less than 18 months after changing its name to Meta to reflect its focus on the metaverse, the Facebook giant has laid off tens of thousands of employees and vowed to get back to basics.

Meta’s false start follows the failure of Google Glass, the search engine giant’s decade-long effort that finally flopped last month.

Milanesi said:

What Meta wants to do and what Apple wants to do are two different things.

Meta is going to create a deeply digital form of Facebook that relies on advertising to make money, he noted.

Apple’s business model is aimed at selling people premium devices, then hawking games, apps, movies and more to be consumed through the hardware, the analyst said.

For example, Apple could create virtual or augmented reality versions of its streaming TV or music services that give viewers the best virtual seats for movies or concerts.

According to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, the much-anticipated Spectacles, or Spectacles, will play to its strengths while expanding its ecosystem.

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“Apple has 2 billion (device) users installed in gold, while Microsoft and Meta are swimming in hostile waters trying to pursue this market opportunity,” Ives said of Metaverse’s ambitions.

“It’s a hardware play that gets into Apple’s sweet spot, further penetrating its customer base.”

Beware of rumours

Wedbush believes Apple will unveil the Glasses AR/VR headset at its June developer conference for around $2,500, though others say $3,000.

“This comes with critics, but we believe it’s the right strategic move for Apple.” Ives told AFP.

Analysts Avi Greengart of Techsponential and Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group advised caution against chasing Apple rumors.

Enderle said:

After Facebook lost a lot of money doing it, it seems like an odd time to launch a consumer headset.

“I hope Apple sees the writing on the wall, but maybe they have a train on the tracks and it’s hard to stop it.”

If Apple does unveil a pair of glasses or glasses, their fate may hinge on what problem they solve for consumers, Greengart reasoned.

“Metas, Googles and Microsoft all seem to be pulling back or downsizing,” Greengart told AFP.

“It remains an open question what the future of augmented and virtual reality will look like.”

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