Apple’s newly announced virtual reality headset promises to merge video and audio with the real world, from immersive FaceTime video chats to watching movies and shows on giant virtual movie screens. . But even the modern smartphone pioneer isn’t expecting much from its $3,499 device at a time when Silicon Valley rivals Meta and Microsoft are scrambling to take VR mainstream. maybe not.
“Apple headsets are experimental and expensive,” says technology historian Lee Binsel of Virginia Tech. “The same was true for many other devices that eventually succeeded, including the iPhone, but while those technologies were breaking new ground, Apple was trodden enough that others failed. We are entering an area that has been defined.”
Apple’s Vision Pro headset, unveiled at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5th, will bring together Apple, Microsoft and other companies to blend virtual and physical spaces for work and entertainment. Designed to provide a blended reality experience for many familiar apps created by The headset also provides a “see-through” experience for the wearer’s eyes, allowing the wearer to interact with other people in the physical world even while interacting with the virtual experience. It also creates a digital he persona that replicates the wearer’s appearance for use in FaceTime conversations and other experiences.
Expected to be available for purchase in early 2024, the headset is connected by a braided cable.
A pocket battery that seems to support up to 2 hours of use and run almost silently at comfortable temperatures. It also has a new Apple computer chip called R1 that processes information from 12 cameras, 5 sensors and 6 microphones to eliminate sensor lag.of The headset can only be controlled by the wearer’s gaze, voice, and small hand gestures such as pinching and flicking.
Silicon Valley has been trying for decades to bring a version of XR (the tagline for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) mainstream, says Wagner James Ohr, the author of the book. create an important metaverse. Apple’s Vision Pro headset is technically a mixed reality device that allows the wearer to access immersive virtual experiences while viewing the outside world.
One of the challenges with XR headsets, in addition to their high cost, is the physical discomfort and discomfort of using bulky headsets. But another key issue that has been overlooked by many tech companies involves many people experiencing virtual reality sickness like motion sickness, Oh said.
Despite selling 20 million Quest headsets to date, Meta has struggled to lure VR users back to the virtual experiences available on its previously advertised Metaverse platform. Shortly before Apple’s headset announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s upcoming Quest 3 VR headset, which also offers a mixed reality experience.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has similarly failed to draw attention to its own metaverse vision, with only 300,000 HoloLens headsets sold as of late 2022.
Virtual reality and other XR headsets have failed to capture much attention during the pandemic, when millions of people were close to home. Global shipments of VR and AR headsets fell by more than 12% between 2021 and 2022, he said. It’s still small and almost entirely used for video games and other forms of entertainment,” says Vinsel.
Against this backdrop, TrendForce expects Apple to sell less than 100,000 headsets and potentially only 300,000 total headset production. Even if the headset doesn’t sell based on those modest goals, Oh said Apple could still “present it as a prototype or early adopter” and sell it primarily to corporate customers. I’m here.
According to Bloomberg, Apple’s headset development costs more than $1 billion a year. But the world’s largest company, with profits of almost $100 billion in 2022, can afford to bet on his multi-billion dollar VR experiment, even if it fails completely. .
“You could put $1 billion into VR research and not realize it,” says Oh. “It’s like changing a sofa.”