Apple appears to be resistant to the most irritating buzzword in tech—I’m referring to the metaverse, of course (a pass for guessing NFT). As per Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a trusted Apple expert, Apple’s next AR headgear will be designed for shorter activity sessions, not to achieve the metaverse’s objective of leaving the physical world behind for a digital Oasis.
In his Power On newsletter, Gurman stated, “Here’s one term I’d be startled to hear on stage when Apple debuts their headset: metaverse.” “I’ve been told that the idea of an entirely virtual world where people may escape to — like Meta Platforms/vision Facebook’s of the future — is off-limits from Apple.” It appears that Apple CEO Tim Cook will not follow the lead of Facebook, er, Meta, and just about every other company that has recently chimed in to discuss how they can bring us closer to a poorly defined, ill-conceived future where the physical and digital worlds merge through the use of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
Apple is rumored to be releasing a combined AR/VR headset for “bursts of gaming, communication, and content consumption.” That is, it is a technology that allows you to return to the actual world when you have completed a game or watched a movie. Apple is said to be entering the VR/AR headset market later this year, and while major information regarding the impending product is still unknown, it appears that we’ll be spared any more “metaverse” discussion.
On the one hand, this might simply be another high-profile rejection from Apple, which is well-known for its dislike of the struggling social network giant. Apple released a new privacy option for iPhone users in 2021 that allowed them to become aware of adverts that tracked them and opt-out. This infuriated Facebook to the point where it began airing splash-screens on both Facebook and Instagram, pleading with users not to opt-out of ad monitoring, warning that if they can’t make a profit from adverts, their services may not always be accessible. Users, predictably, ignored the request, and Facebook and other digital giants lost an estimated $10 billion in ad revenue after Apple flicked the switch. Readers should be informed that Apple recently reversed its decision and now allows third parties to collect “anonymized” device data again.
On the other hand, Gurman reports that Apple is working on its own set of Augmented Reality (AR) glasses that could theoretically be worn just as often as a pair of reading glasses, indicating that the company isn’t completely opposed to having something on your head all day for “mixed reality” experiences. Apple’s focus, according to Gurman, is the AR version of its headgear, simply because it is less intrusive and allows users to remain in their world rather than being beamed. Apple, of course, has a vested interest in keeping its consumers from switching to a competitor’s platform, but since both Apple’s glasses and Meta’s fantasy world are still so far off in the future, it’s uncertain how this turf war will end.