Apple Is Not Entering the Metaverse: Is It Just A Power Play?

Apple CEO Tim Cook has rejected the metaverse. Could it be a sign that current technology is not ready for it?
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Quick take:

  • Tim Cook says that the metaverse is ‘off limits’.
  • Apple is focusing its efforts on developing its AR/VR headsets.
  • Apple and Meta are competing for their share in the AR/VR headset market.

Apple has claimed that the metaverse is ‘off limits’, according to the latest Power On newsletter by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. 

Recently popularised in pop culture and the media by Mark Zuckerberg after he unveiled the rebrand of Facebook’s corporate identity to Meta, the word “metaverse” has been used to describe the future of the Internet, web 3.0, and whatever it may bring. 

However, instead of envisioning what the metaverse could be, Apple would rather focus on the current development of its upcoming AR/VR mixed reality headset and its rOS, which would possibly require an Apple device to function. The headset is rumoured to include features such as a curved visor with Airpods style padding and sensor tracking, intended to be used in small bursts of time. 

On the other side of the VR coin, Zuckerberg has aims to create a metaverse with a larger open ecosystem as opposed to Apple’s closed ecosystem, and has described the metaverse as “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality”. While this would by definition make Apple’s VR/AR headset metaverse adjacent, Apple could be staying away from buzzwords as it waits for the metaverse to develop further before entering the space. 

The fact that Meta has recently cancelled its VR/AR operation system project intended for the company’s own AR/VR headset could also be a sign that technology is not ready for the kind of metaverse that Zuckerberg envisions. In his Founders Letter, Zuckerberg describes his vision of the metaverse as a future version of the Internet where users “will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up.”

With both tech leaders now competing for their shares in the virtual reality headset market, perhaps Apple is simply rejecting its rival Meta/Facebook’s vision of the metaverse as this is not the first time that Tim Cook is making different choices from Mark Zuckerberg.

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