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As a challenge to Meta, Apple is expected to announce a mixed reality headset

As a challenge to Meta, Apple is expected to announce a mixed reality headset


SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is widely expected to unveil a new headset that blends video of the outside world with virtual worlds at its annual software developers conference next week.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Meta Platforms (META.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg are launching a new generation of technology that brings the physical and digital worlds together to consumers. are arguing to define how

Zuckerberg has spent years launching products with a vision of the Metaverse, a parallel digital universe where people come together to work and play.

In contrast, Apple’s head of marketing Greg Joswiak recently called the metaverse “a word I never use.” And Apple’s devices are just rumors for now. Apple’s presentations at the Worldwide Developers Conference begin Monday at 10:00 AM PDT (17:00 GMT).

The company, best known for its iPhone, has so far limited its augmented reality efforts to technology that works on existing devices, such as allowing retailers’ apps to display virtual furniture in customers’ living rooms.

“Meta and Apple are competing with each other,” said Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moore Insights & Strategy. That’s it,’ he said.

Analysts say the Apple device, which Bloomberg reported costs nearly $3,000 and may resemble ski goggles, is an alternative of sorts. Analysts say the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s grand vision is to superimpose digital information on the real world and produce transparent glasses that can be worn all day, every day. , my goggles.

Apple declined to comment on future plans or products.

The “killer app” doesn’t exist yet

Apple’s glasses technology is still years away, but in the meantime, Apple rivals such as Sony Group (6758.T) and TikTok parent company ByteDance’s Pico have released mixed reality headsets. and suggest what is possible. A fusion of the real world and the virtual world. Meta Platforms this week announced the $500 Quest 3 headset, following the release of the $1,000 Quest Pro last year.

Apple has been pushing augmented reality features for iPhones and iPads since 2017, but its mainstream use is still largely limited to furniture shopping apps and a handful of games.

Analysts say one of the reasons Apple has kept its efforts private is how people will eventually use the mixed or augmented reality technology industry insiders call “XR” for short. It is said that no one in Silicon Valley knows well whether to use it. There is no “killer app” for this device yet.

So rather than target the mass market price point, Apple appears to be preparing a premium device aimed at showing what’s possible so that software developers can develop compelling apps. .

“No one thinks this market is nearly ripe for the foreseeable future,” said Ben Bajarin, chief executive and principal analyst at Creative Strategies.

The biggest risk for Apple is to jeopardize its reputation for sophisticated products in a costly battle with Meta for dominance in a market that still barely exists. Last year, Meta accounted for 80% of the total augmented and virtual reality headset market, which was just 8.8 million units, according to data from research firm IDC. By contrast, IDC estimates he sold 226 million iPhones at Apple alone.

Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager who tracks the XR market at IDC, said Meta has a product in the market, but Apple has a big advantage in defining this emerging field among software developers. said there is. Apple has strong relationships with developers who want access to his installed base of 2 billion devices, including Macs, Apple Watch, iPhones and more.

“We can leverage the ecosystem we’ve already built to keep users within the walled garden,” Ubrani said. “And Apple is in a much better position than Meta to deliver an experience that works across devices.”

Reporting in San Francisco by Stephen Nellis Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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