If the rumors about this is true, Apple would be smart to reconsider about getting in the Metaverse. They will be left behind.
Considering that “metaverse” is just a nebulous and wobbly term that Epic and Facebook cooked up to dodge criticisms and doesn’t mean a single thing right now, it’s not much of a concern today.
I think ‘metaverse’ means the same thing as ‘social network’ — it’s a vehicle for selling ads and manipulating people, full stop.
Just like Apple doesn’t have a ‘social network’ but does (through Messages and FaceTime) have a network through which people have positive social interactions with friends and family, I suspect Apple will not participate in the ‘metaverse’ but will have AR/VR devices that provide entertainment and help people to be more productive.
WSJ tested the concept of living in an early metaverse here:
VR is too disorienting to do this all the time.
The metaverse type experiences that people are immersed in today are like Minecraft, Fortnite, GTA Online, World of Warcraft, Second Life. Someone tested Fortnite in VR, this is probably the most compelling use case for wearing headsets for such a long period of time and kids already spend this much time in them outside of VR:
There’s a video here showing some gaming and social stuff in Meta’s experiences, most of this looks pretty horrifying, especially with the kid screaming at 2:15:
It’s clear to see from these videos why it would have to be short experiences at a time using a VR headset, most people can’t wear them that long because you’re only looking at the display’s artificial light source. A mixed reality experience would be much more comfortable for long periods.
Watching a movie would be an example of a short-term experience too. I could see people buying a product for an enhanced movie experience but not at over $1k.
This whole product description sounds off with the Airpods Max padding, Watch-style bands (this wouldn’t be a fashion wearable), $1k-3k price. It’s like one of those car mockups with the iPhone antenna bands, trying to piece together parts of Apple’s other products into a new one. Especially when Apple has said a number of times that they don’t see much value in VR. If they have front cameras, they can do passthrough so you’d see the real environment like on an iPad AR app and it offers the ability to have the processing on the device but if they were doing this, I’d expect the form factor to be closer to ski goggles than current VR hardware, a bit more compact than the mockup:
I expect Apple to make an AR wearable that allows VR-like experiences and nothing else and the tech is here to do this in 2022. They’ve been working on these products for over 6 years already. It says here it took just 2004-2007 to do the iPhone from concept to launch:
They have thousands of world-class engineers working round the clock. There’s no way they are just going to come up with an overpriced derivative nerd helmet. I think the only thing they make will be something Tim Cook would be happy wearing to work all day at a mass market price point. It’s something they can sell as an accessory with the iPhone 14 and require an iPhone 12/13/14. That way it’s a $20/month premium with a new handset instead of a $499 purchase.