Apple is gearing up to showcase its long-anticipated AR/VR headset at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. However, experts have said the launch would come amid a challenging time for the VR/AR industry and the metaverse.
As noted by experts, the industry is grappling with a lack of engaging content. On top of that, companies such as Microsoft and Disney are shutting down their metaverse divisions.
Ramon Llamas, the research director for the devices and displays team at the International Data Corporation, said that a fully established Metaverse would likely only emerge in the next decade.
He explained that it is unlikely that a company, even one as prominent as Apple, can introduce its first AR/VR headset and declare the emergence of a fully realized metaverse.
Yahoo Finance reports that the metaverse is facing two significant challenges. Firstly, the concept is unclear to many people — making it difficult to sell to consumers. Secondly, everything people expect is still years away from reality.
Scott Kessler, Third Bridge’s global sector lead of technology, media & telecommunications, insisted “other opportunities” seem “more appealing” and near-term compared to the metaverse.
According to Llamas, people have become too focused on what the “metaverse could be” and have lost sight of what is currently achievable.
Apple’s entry into the metaverse industry may not be enough to develop a fully realized metaverse, but it could be a foundation for accomplishing this objective. Kessler also said that Apple’s launch has the potential to be a significant moment for the metaverse by affecting people’s perception of it.
“That could very well be a watershed moment for the metaverse and how people think about it.”
Scott Kessler, Third Bridge global sector lead for tech, media, and telecom
AR/VR headset is Apple’s major release in years
Apple’s upcoming headset will be the first major release since the debut of AirPods seven years ago.
Since around 2015, Apple has been working on the headset’s development. Apple wants to offer advanced virtual videoconferencing that uses realistic avatars and immersive video streaming through the headset.
The company’s original plan was to unveil the headset at a consumer-focused launch event in early spring, followed by a presentation for third-party developers at its annual WWDC conference in June.
Because Apple isn't very optimistic about the AR/MR headset announcement recreating the astounding "iPhone moment," the mass production schedule for assembly has been pushed back by another 1-2 months to mid-to-late 3Q23. The delay also adds uncertainty to whether the new device…
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 30, 2023
However, the company changed its plans to showcase all aspects of the device at the June event. While the timing is subject to change, Apple is determined to launch the headset by the end of 2023.
Apple’s Reality headset is expected to have a price tag of approximately $3,000. Codenamed N301, it will run on a new operating system called xrOS. The new operating system will provide a 3D-like view of an iPhone interface, which includes popular apps like Safari, Messages, Mail and TV.
Developing the hardware for the mixed-reality headset has been complex and costly, primarily due to the various components involved. These include an M2 chip similar to the one used in Macs, dual 4K displays for virtual reality and many cameras that enable augmented reality.
To enhance user experience, Apple has been trying to address balance performance and battery life. Reportedly, Apple will use an external pack to power the device to improve battery life.