One of the biggest leaking Apple products I can ever remember might actually see the light of day at WWDC next month. You read that right, it looks highly likely Tim Cook will take to the stage on the Keynote for Apple’s develop conference and finally utter the words Reality Pro. Unfortunately, the long-rumoured VR experience from Apple has already missed its chance to make a splash, and will be launched into a market that doesn’t really exist.
Since at least the mid-80’s at various volume levels, futurists have been telling us virtual reality will be a massive thing. The slightly dystopian predictions are that we will at least strap things to our faces instead of staring at screens, and if you listen to some people, we might live a portion of our lives in a virtual world. However, that reality has never really panned out.
It has to be said I am extremely negative towards putting any computer on your face, but still open to the possibility. In many respects, it makes sense, perhaps not to live in a virtual world, but consuming content or playing games is a realistic current and future bet for VR devices. This is where Apple sees its headset fitting in, running iPad type apps and not diving into a metaverse. Being able to put on oversized goggles to be able to watch or use a gigantic screen instead of needing a large panel appeals to many demographics.
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The issue is that the market for this kind of device is already exhausted. Either physically or metaphorically. Niche gaming sections are saturated with cheaper Quest or PlayStation devices. With others completely turned off to the idea due to a bombardment of Meta né Facebook insisting on the future taking place in their world. The truth is Apple scrambled to build a device to fit into a potential market that was promised for years on end, but no longer exists.
Whatever Apple’s entry into VR looks like; or whenever it arrives, it looks set to miss its market bar early adopter Apple fans with too much money. Granted there was a time for about 6 beautiful months where this device made sense. After months of not being able to navigate the web without being inundated with the word metaverse, that time has gone. That time may arrive, but like having business built around web3 in 2023, there’s not much hope currently.
That is the issue with entering into markets that are still emerging. You risk making the wrong bets. Wasting considerable amounts on money building devices that fall flat rather than sail the current wave of hype. This was something that Apple were notoriously good at. They waited, watched and launched their product a little later than others, but well-rounded and pushing industries forward. You only have to look at products like AirPods as an example of Apple usual ‘wait and see’ market tactic.
Which makes Apples VR device all the more strange, and something that no doubt is making them pause and think a bit longer. However, it can be said that we are not dealing with the same Apple any more, and even they can make mistakes – huge million-dollar mistakes. Just don’t mention AirPower.
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