Apple Unofficially Targeting the Metaverse with Mixed Reality Headset

Apple may be unofficially targeting the metaverse with its mixed-reality headset after previewing the device to the board.
Image source: Metropol TV

Quick take:

  • Apple executives have reportedly previewed an upcoming mixed-reality headset to the board.
  • People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg the meeting suggests the device has reached an advanced stage.
  • Although the tech giant has dissociated itself from the metaverse, experts believe the headset could be a foray into the 3D virtual space.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is one of the few technology giants that have decided against officially launching a product for the metaverse. The iPhone maker may, however, be unofficially venturing into the immersive 3D space with its new headset. 

Apple is developing a mixed-reality headset for virtual and augmented experiences. And according to Bloomberg, people close to the matter suggest the device is already in the penultimate stage after executives previewed it to the board in a recent meeting.

The new device will run on Apple’s reality operating system “rOS”, the report reads. The OS was first spotted this January in App Store upload logs, leading experts to believe that the technology giant was working on an AR/VR device.

Although Apple has not declared whether the device is specifically being developed for the metaverse, its addressable market will likely include the immersive 3D space. The metaverse has experienced explosive growth since last October with some analysts predicting a market value of up to $100 billion by the end of 2022.

Bloomberg also published a report that forecasts a market value of $400 billion by 2026, while Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley think the opportunity could be worth up to $13 trillion overall, in the long term.

Therefore, it makes sense why technology companies involved in the development of AR/VR headsets would not want to let the opportunity pass without launching a product that capitalises on the current trend. Apple is no exception.

Experts speculate the device could use Memoji, Apple’s version of personalised Animojis for Facetime experience on the mixed-reality headset, according to a Bloomberg report. 

“I imagine a virtual reality version of FaceTime where you can be in a conference room with dozens of people. Instead of seeing their actual faces, you’ll see 3D versions of them (Memojis),” Mark Gurman wrote in a Bloomberg newsletter.

“I assume the headset will be able to determine a person’s facial expressions in real-time, making the experience fairly lifelike,” he added.

He also expects the device to utilise SharePlay a feature that allows multiple users to share experiences like movies and music. The device is also expected to be one of the most expensive in the market due to the technologies used to create it. Initial forecasts suggest a starting price of about $2,000.

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