WWDC: Can Apple make AR/VR headsets finally cool?

Mathieu Grumiaux

June 02, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.


Apple XR © Midjourney for Clubic.com

© Midjourney for Clubic.com

The manufacturer could give a boost to this range of products, provided it succeeds in its presentation scheduled for Monday, June 5th.

Finally ! After years of rumors, rumors and other more or less confirmed information, Apple should in all likelihood present its first mixed reality headset at WWDC 2023, which takes place on Monday, June 5 from 7 p.m.

A dangerous bet, in a sector that is struggling to take off

The bet is one of the riskiest taken by the manufacturer for many years. Indeed, the virtual reality market today is a niche market, geared more towards gaming than the more common uses of everyday life. While several headsets have had great success, such as the Meta Quest 2, sales volumes are far from those of a brand like Apple, which targets the widest audience.

Also, some tech giants have already tried to interest the masses in virtual reality, and have broken their teeth. We obviously think, and once again, of Mark Zuckerberg praising all the merits of the metaverse and its virtual worlds with multiple possibilities. The Horizon Worlds application has never exceeded the few tens of thousands of users and the recent presentation of the Meta Quest 3 focuses exclusively on the video game.

The ground therefore seems to be mined for Apple, but the brand, which has reportedly been working on the mixed reality headset project for seven years, has already proven in the past that it can enter a difficult market and reverse the trend.

WWDC 2023 © © Apple

© Apple

Apple’s ripple effect could boost public interest in VR

Apple’s whole strategy is never to create a new market, but to arrive once the technology is mature enough to interest the consumer. The brand did not invent the smartphone, but the iPhone revolutionized the mobile market in 2007. Ditto for the Apple Watch, the best-selling connected watch in the world today, but which was not the first like, far from it.

The ripple effect of the brand is then enough to arouse the curiosity of the public, eager to test the new Apple product, but also of the developers, who know that these millions of new consumers are as many potential customers for their own applications on this platform as on the competitors. The success of an Apple VR headset could therefore benefit the entire industry, which has been struggling for years to make this technology accessible to everyone.

There remains the question of uses, and the headset could take advantage of the multitude of services set up by the brand in recent years in online music, video on demand with Apple TV+, sport with Apple Fitness+ and videoconferencing. This demonstration on June 5 will have to show pedagogy (which the brand often knows how to demonstrate) to present concrete uses to the public, applicable in everyday life.

Sales of the helmet, whose price could be around 3,000 dollars, will logically be very modest compared to the 250 million iPhones sold each year. This first generation will allow the most enthusiastic technology fans to present the product to their loved ones and demonstrate it to them, while waiting for other more accessible versions, up to mixed reality glasses, a new design that could finally make virtual reality take off in the next few years.

Apple will finally have to show perseverance, and wipe the first failures and the mockery of part of the public and critics. The Apple Watch had the same cold reception when it was launched, for the success we know today. Will the mixed reality headset meet the same fate? First elements of response in a few days.

Source : CNBC

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