There have been rumors that Apple Inc. working on a mixed reality headset for years. They’re starting to feel pretty real now.
Microsoft, Alphabet, Snap and Sony will also be competitors. However, none of these companies can match Apple’s mix of design prowess, cutting-edge technology and a large network.
Who wins the mixed reality competition
Apple unveiled an AR / VR (augmented and virtual reality) gadget to its board last week, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, and has a “consumer release scheduled for 2023.”
Apple is well positioned to win the mixed reality competition once the headset is released.
Meta Platforms Inc. is the industry’s biggest competitor (aka the artist formerly known as Facebook).
Mark Zuckerberg renamed the company and claimed to invest $ 10 billion a year to realize his vision of a virtual reality-enabled metavers.
And significant progress has been made: Meta’s Quest 2 sold 8.7 million units in 2021, more than twice as many as the year before, and the company now controls 80% of the market.
But compared to what Apple has been able to sell in the wearables hardware field, Quest 2 sales statistics are a drop in the bucket.
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Apple is the only company that can move high-end consumer hardware at the same speed as Apple.
According to Apple analyst Neil Cybart, Apple will ship over 100 million wearables (Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats headphones) by 2021, a 4x increase from 2017. Not to mention the 233 million iPhones it sold last year.
Cybart argues well in a May essay that Apple has developed a “decades-long lead in wearables” by amassing many benefits:
Product development and design
Product development is driven by design: Apple has traditionally been a design-first company that closely integrates design and technology.
Apple paid $ 278 million to buy semiconductor startup PA Semi in 2008. Since then, Apple has released custom-built CPUs for its devices, which are often faster than alternatives: the A-Series (iPad, iPhone), M-Series (Mac), S Series (Watch) and W Series (Watch) (AirPods).
Combining function and fashion is crucial when it comes to wearables. Jony Ive, a former Apple CEO, has almost mastered this strategy (according to The Information, I consulted on Apple headsets, including key features like “battery, camera placement and ergonomics”).
The knowledge gained by designing, manufacturing and distributing all this portable technology is directly related to headsets.
Apple, unlike Meta, has been close to its actual mixed reality investment, though we can assume it is significant.
According to Gurman, Apple’s Technology Development Group has 2,000 employees working on both a mixed-reality (AR / VR) headset and a standalone AR headset (AR overlays “digital information and visuals on top of the actual environment,” as opposed to VR with full immersion).