Years in the works, Apple’s new VR headset — rumored to be called the “Reality Pro” — is expected to be unveiled at the company’s annual conference.
Apple is set to unveil a long-rumored headset that will bridge its users between the virtual and real world, with the technology trendsetter popularizing newfangled devices after failing to capture the public’s imagination Will also test the capability of
After years of speculation, the stage is set for a widely anticipated announcement Monday at the annual developers conference of the theater in Cupertino, California, named for the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs.
Apple is also likely to use the event to show off its latest Mac computers, preview the next iPhone operating system and discuss its artificial intelligence strategy.
But the star of the show is expected to be a pair of goggles — rumored to be called the “Reality Pro” according to the company’s leaks to the media — which marks another milestone in Apple’s lore for releasing game-changing technology regardless of the company’s reputation. Can turn into stone. Those who have tried their hand at making a particular instrument have not always been the first.
The pedigree of Apple’s successes dates back to a tilting job pushing the first Mac in 1984 — a tradition that continued with the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010, the Apple Watch in 2014, and its AirPods in 2016. ,
But with a hefty price tag that could be in the $3,000 (€2,800) range, Apple’s new headset may be greeted with a lukewarm reception from all but affluent technophiles.
‘Mixed Reality’ Glasses
If the new device turns out to be a niche product, it would leave Apple in the same bind as other major tech companies and start-ups, which have tried to sell headsets or glasses equipped with technology that either introduce people to an artificial world or projects digital images. with scenes and things that are actually in front of them – a format known as “augmented reality”.
Apple’s glasses are expected to feature a sleek design and be able to toggle between fully virtual or augmented options, sometimes referred to as “mixed reality.” That flexibility is sometimes called external reality, or XR for shorthand.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been describing these alternate three-dimensional realities as “metaverses”. It is a strange concept that was first coined by author Neal Stephenson in the science fiction novel ‘Snow Crash’ in 1992.
Zuckerberg has sought to push his social networking company into the mainstream by changing its name to Meta Platforms in 2021 and then pouring billions of dollars into improving the virtual technology.
But the Metaverse has largely remained a digital ghost town, though Meta’s virtual reality headset, Quest, remains the best-selling device in a category that has so far appealed mostly to video game players looking for an even greater experience. are looking for.
Apple executives are likely to avoid mentioning the metaverse, given that there’s been rapid growth around that term when discussing the potential of the company’s new headset.
In recent years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has periodically touted augmented reality as the next quantum leap in technology, while not setting a specific timeline for it to gain widespread appeal.
‘Not going to get darker overnight’
“If you look at a point in time, you know, zoom out to the future and look back, you’ll wonder how you ever led your life without augmented reality,” said Cook, who is 62. , said while talking to one last September. Audience of students in Italy.
“Just like today you wonder how people like me grew up without the internet. You know, that’s why I think it can be so deep. And it’s not going to be deep overnight.”
The response to virtual, augmented and mixed reality so far has been decidedly ho-hum. Some of the gadgets implementing the technology have also been derisively mocked, with the most notable example being Google’s Internet-connected glasses released more than a decade ago.
After Google co-founder Sergey Brin initially raised excitement about the device by demonstrating the early model’s potential “wow factor” with a skydiving stunt during a San Francisco tech conference, consumers quickly turned away from a product that, Which allowed its users to secretly take pictures and videos.
The backlash became so intense that people wearing the gear became known as “Glassholes”, causing Google to withdraw the product a few years after its introduction.
Microsoft has also had limited success with HoloLens, a mixed-reality headset released in 2016, although earlier this year the software maker insisted it remained committed to the technology.
Magic Leap, a startup that stirred excitement with a preview of a mixed-reality technology that could add to the spectacle of a whale smashing through a gymnasium floor, began marketing its first headset to consumers in 2018. There was so much trouble that it lost its focus. Industrial, health care and emergency use.
Daniel Diaz, Magic Leap’s chief transformation officer, said there are four key questions Apple’s goggles will need to answer: “What can people do with it? How does this thing look and feel? Is it comfortable to wear? And is it How much is it? Is it going to cost?”
The anticipation that Apple’s glasses are going to sell for several thousand dollars has already lowered expectations for the product.
While he expects Apple’s glasses to boast “jaw-dropping” technology, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said he expects the company to sell just 150,000 units during the device’s first year on the market — a low in the company’s portfolio. Just a blur
By comparison, Apple sells more than 200 million iPhones, its annual marquee product. But the iPhone wasn’t an immediate sensation, selling less than 12 million units in its first full year on the market.
Apparently aimed at raising the expected price of Apple’s glasses, Zuckerberg said last week that the next Quest headset would sell for $500, an announcement four months before Meta Platforms plans to showcase the latest device at its tech conference. .
Since 2016, average annual shipments of virtual and augmented-reality devices have averaged 8.6 million units, according to research firm CCS Insight.
The firm expects sales to remain sluggish this year, forecasting sales of about 11 million devices before gradually climbing to 67 million in 2026.
But those predictions were clearly made before knowing whether Apple could release a product that changes the landscape.
“I would never count Apple out, especially with the consumer market and especially when it comes to finding those killer applications and solutions,” said Magic Leap’s Dez.
“If someone is going to crack the consumer market anytime soon, I wouldn’t be surprised it will be Apple”.