Apple, which has not launched new hardware products for 7 years, may usher in a blockbuster product – AR/VR headset, which will also mean that Apple will officially join the battle of the Metaverse after Meta, Microsoft, and Google. However, although the fire of the Metaverse has already been vigorous, and there are many bigwigs and giants entering the game, in this “money-burning black hole”, even Meta, which has spent 20 billion US dollars, has not seen the way forward.
In June of this year, when Apple’s WWDC 2022 conference issued a promotional poster, some people speculated that Apple would release its own headset, because in the poster released at the time, there was an image of a young man wearing glasses. The glasses are considered to be Apple’s latest AR device. But in the end, the WWDC conference did not release any related products until the end.
Now, Apple’s product is about to come out, or it will adopt the “Reality” naming method for the new product line. According to a report by Bloomberg on August 28, according to the trademark application documents, Apple has passed the shell company Immersive Health Solutions LLC. Apple has submitted “Reality” in the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Uruguay. One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” three trademark registration applications.
All three trademark filings reportedly refer to “virtual and augmented reality headsets, goggles, glasses, and smart glasses.” There is a speculation that Reality One represents the first-generation AR/VR headset, Reality Pro represents the high-end version of the Pro, and Reality Processor represents Apple’s dedicated processor for AR/VR headsets.
According to data, Apple has been preparing AR headsets for more than ten years. Since 2010, Apple has applied for over 2,000 AR/VR-related patents, and invested in or acquired over 20 AR/VR business companies. Earlier this year, Apple showed the first headset (codenamed N301) to its board of directors, indicating that the device is in advanced development and may be released soon.
It is widely believed that Apple will announce it sometime between fall 2022 and summer 2023, with an official launch to consumers in 2023. This is also the first time Apple has opened a new product line since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015. However, the trademark application has not yet been approved. An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the trademark registration.
Internet critic Zhang Shule said that Apple has been deploying AR and VR for many years, and has also accumulated a large number of talents, patents and corresponding industrial chain preparations. In fact, it has been possible to launch a head-mounted display for a long time, but just like Apple’s consistent style, such as in the Apple car, if you are not satisfied and have a sense of subversion, you will not throw a test product on the market for users to try and make mistakes and consume. Apple’s technological paradigm reputation.
Regarding the launch time, Zhang Shule believes that it is unlikely to launch in advance in a short period of time, because it will take time in terms of production capacity and industrial chain structure, as well as in cooperation with the hardware ecology of the headset, auxiliary software, and more important presentation content Prepare. It is not only video, but also games. It is also necessary to let many participants under the influence of Apple’s ecology develop their brains and “stock up” at full speed after the conference. The preparation period of more than 100 days is actually very short.
late but arriving
It is widely believed in the industry that the headset will allow Apple to compete more fiercely with Meta, the industry-leading VR equipment supplier. Recently, Meta announced that the price of the Quest 2 will increase by $100 starting August 1, with the 128GB model rising to $399 and the 256GB model $499. Meta says that even after the price hike, the Quest 2 is still the best value-for-money VR headset on the market.
In Zhang Shule’s view, being able to be lightweight, portable, and high-definition will be a great weapon for Apple’s head-mounted display to break the previous division of the headset market. But this alone is only able to separate one side, and for the blue ocean market, which has just begun to open up wasteland, there is not much shaking.
As for the impact on the industry chain, Zhang Shule said that it depends on the technical completion, subversive ability and innovation of Apple’s headset itself, as well as the needs of the industry chain. Once the blue ocean is released, the Apple headset industry chain will become the next iPhone that subverts feature phones.
On the other hand, analysts said that with Apple’s ambitions, it will not be limited to selling hardware devices, and it definitely wants to build a “metaverse ecology” covering hardware, software and services.
29 years ago, American science fiction writer Stephenson’s “Avalanche” was published. As a classic of cyberpunk, the novel describes a future world where the real and virtual worlds are tied together, and the word “metaverse” appears for the first time.
Since last year, this word has quickly come into reality, and it has become a mess in the form of commercial outlets. Naturally, there are many entrants.
In fact, compared to other tech giants, Apple’s attitude towards the Metaverse is relatively conservative. Two years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to use the term “metaverse” in an interview.
However, Apple can always evoke the imagination in some details. In 2021, Apple will bring AR navigation capabilities to Apple Maps for the first time, allowing iOS users to navigate real-world environments based on virtual overlays.
In September last year, Apple placed an AR Easter egg on an invitation from California Streaming; in May of this year, Apple placed an AR LOGO pulse wave on an invitation from Peek Performance. Before the upcoming autumn conference, the Far Out invitation issued by Apple brought users a dreamy AR starry sky.
After Apple released its fiscal 2022 first-quarter results this spring, Cook said in an earnings call that the company sees “enormous potential” in the Metaverse, comparing it to current virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality. Reality (AR) projects are linked, and “corresponding investments” are being made.
Regarding the trademark application and the layout of the Metaverse, a reporter from Beijing Business Daily contacted Apple, but did not receive a reply as of press time.
the next battlefield
In the Metaverse, Apple’s biggest opponent is undoubtedly Meta, who ran away early. Meta founder Zuckerberg said at an internal company meeting recently that Meta and Apple are engaged in a “deep, conceptual competition” in the metaverse that will determine “in which direction the Internet should develop.”
But making money is still the most important thing. The business magazine “Fast Company” pointed out that the entry of big technology players is because they see business opportunities from the younger generation. 87% of Gen Z and 83% of millennials have access to the digital space at least weekly through mobile phones, game consoles and computers, and more than 65% of Gen Z have spent money on in-game purchases.
And for Generation Alpha (those born after 2010), gaming is equivalent to social life. Kathy Hacker, a tech expert who has advised many companies on the Metaverse, said in an interview that the younger generation is more willing to give some virtual experiences and objects substantial meaning, “The first concert I listened to was in the gym, But the first time my son listened to American rapper Lil Nas X in concert was in a Roblox game.”
But at least for now, it’s extremely hard to see a decent return. Over the past year and a half, Meta has spent nearly $20 billion on the Metaverse. John Carmack, the former CTO of Oculus, has publicly questioned many times that Meta invested heavily in Reality Labs, and the rate of return was much lower than expected.
Some people in the industry say that the amount of graphics computation required to render a virtual space for the human eye is far greater than the 2D screen of a mobile phone. In the second quarter, Meta’s Metaverse division lost $2.8 billion.
However, despite the continuous loss of the department, Zuckerberg showed amazing willpower and still expressed his optimism about this track, “focusing on the long-term investment and development of Metaverse-related businesses.”
At the same time, many metaverse-related professions are disappearing. According to a survey by Revelio Labs, a U.S. human resources research organization, the number of related jobs containing the “metaverse” dropped by 81% from April to June.