Apple’s Mixed-Reality Headset is a ‘Reimagination of the Metaverse’

The iPhone maker refuses to be drawn into the metaverse race despite developing a mixed-reality headset that comes bundled with ‘metaverse’ experiences.
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Quick take:

  • Details of Apple’s mixed-reality headset indicate that the company could be creating its own version of the metaverse.
  • The tech giant is planning to create a 3D world and video service together with the device.
  • Apple has ruled out joining the metaverse race.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is one of the biggest technology giants that continue to refuse to be drawn into the metaverse debate. The company CEO Tim Cook said last month that the iPhone maker will continue to not use the word “metaverse” because nobody knows what it is.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shares the same sentiment, after stating in August that Zuckerberg’s huge bet on the metaverse was bound to misfire because of a lack of a clear definition.

Although Apple has stayed away from the metaverse drama, this has not prevented the world’s most valuable company by market cap from developing products for the metaverse.

In fact, Apple’s mixed-reality headset has been in development as far back as 2015. 

That is even before Microsoft Inc. (NASDAQ: MSFT) launched its HoloLens product in 2016 and just a year after Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META) acquired Oculus, now Quest Pro.

The mixed-reality headset is Apple’s next major product to come out of its pipeline designed for the new era of entertainment. According to a report published by Bloomberg, the device’s capabilities are more than what users experience from using an augmented reality headset.

The high-end device is expected to cost between $2,000 and $3,000 when mass production begins in March 2023. Moreover, it is expected to come bundled with a 3D world and video services, thus offering a full set of immersive experiences.

But Apple still maintains its newest product will have nothing to do with the metaverse— a 3D virtual space where people can interact immersively through gaming, virtual concerts and other experiential events.

Those are uncanny parallels even for the novice person.

Apple’s mixed-reality device will be running on a new operating system dubbed RealityOS “rOS” first spotted in January in App Store upload logs. The OS will include mixed-reality versions of primary Apple apps like Messages, FaceTime and Maps. The company is just about wrapping up the first version of the OS, dubbed Oak, set for launch next year, Bloomberg reported.

Recent Apple job adverts have fueled the prospects that the company could be adding virtual experiences to the product suite. The company is searching for a software producer with experience in visual effects and game asset pipelines who can create digital content for augmented- and virtual-reality environments. The new recruit will be joining the team developing the mixed-reality device and associated accessories the Technology Development Group (TDG).

Other listings also indicate that Apple is looking to add video services as a feature on the 3D headset, including 3D content that can be played in virtual reality.

The company is also recruiting engineers to create a 3D developer toolkit for creators to build products for virtual and augment reality experiences.

One Job listing for the TDG department states: “We are looking for a software engineer who will work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate novel user interactions from application data models which are leveraged by a variety of system services such as Shortcuts, Siri, Search, and more.”


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