Although Apple never mentions its projects before the official presentation, Tim Cook, the CEO, is unable to hide his interest in augmented reality. In addition, the firm’s recent acquisitions, as well as certain patents, indicate that it is developing AR/VR products.
In addition, many rumors are already circulating on the web about the headset combining virtual reality and augmented reality that Apple is secretly developing. And obviously, the project is coming to fruition.
In a recent article, Bloomberg reports that Apple would have presented a version of its future AR/VR headset for the first time to the board of directors, made up of Tim Cook and 8 independent directors. And that’s not all.
Recently, still according to the American media, the Cupertino company has made significant progress in the development of rOS, the system that will be used by the future helmet. All of this, according to Bloomberg, signals that Apple’s AR/VR headset project is progressing well.
Normally, the product should be formalized either at the end of the year or in 2023. Moreover, initially, Apple would have planned to present this product at the WWDC conference, this month of June. But due to content issues and hardware overheating issues, the launch was reportedly pushed back.
In any case, this launch will be very important for Apple, at least as important as the launch of the first Apple Watch in 2015. And in addition to the helmet which will combine virtual reality and augmented reality, Apple would also develop augmented reality glasses, comparable to Google Glass or Microsoft Hololens. But the development of this format would take a few more years.
Note also that, like Meta, Apple would see augmented reality glasses as the product category that could replace smartphones in a few years.
Future competitor of Meta in AR/VR
When Apple launches its first AR/VR headset, it will become a direct competitor to Meta. Currently, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is the leader in AR/VR products, thanks to its virtual reality headsets (Oculus) Meta Quest 2.
And Meta is working on a more sophisticated product that will combine virtual reality and augmented reality called Cambria. The company has already given several previews of this helmet which, presumably, will position itself in the premium segment.
Indeed, Meta plans to market this one at over $800 in the United States. Otherwise, Meta is rumored to release a total of 4 AR/VR products by 2024.
AR/VR: Apple’s new cash machine?
AR/VR products could become the Cupertino company’s next cash machine. At the moment, this is still a category that only interests a small niche. But in the next few years, it should interest more and more people.
According to the forecasts of analysts from Counterpoint Research, the size of the market should be multiplied by 10 in a few years. These forecasts indicate that shipments of AR/VR products could increase from 11 million units in 2021 to 105 million units in 2025.
On the other hand, Counterpoint believes that the arrival of Apple in this market could encourage other smartphone manufacturers to follow suit.
Also remember that Apple will face competition from Google. While the Mountain View firm had put its projects in augmented reality in the background, it now seems to want to move these projects up a gear. At the 2022 edition of the I/O conference, Google indeed gave an overview of the successors to Google Glass under development.