Tech giant Apple is on the brink of revealing an advanced headset poised to merge the boundaries of the virtual and real world. This leap forward showcases Apple’s knack for mainstreaming revolutionary technology in ways that have previously eluded other competitors.
Speculations have been swirling for years, and the world now awaits an announcement at Apple’s annual developers conference. Held in Cupertino, California, at the theater named after Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, the event is likely to spotlight the latest Mac computer, provide a sneak-peek of the next iPhone operating system, and offer insights into the company’s AI strategy.
However, all eyes are on the rumored headset – possibly named “Reality Pro” – that could mark another milestone in Apple’s history of groundbreaking technology. With a lineage of revolutionary products from the Mac in 1984 to AirPods in 2016, the company has been a consistent trendsetter.
Although the expected price tag of $3,000 might initially limit its audience to wealthy tech enthusiasts, the device’s impact could be far-reaching. The innovative headset is rumored to provide a blend of both virtual and augmented reality – a combination often referred to as “mixed reality” or “external reality” (XR).
In recent years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has emphasized augmented reality as the technology of the future. Despite not defining a precise timeline for its mainstream adoption, Cook has compared its significance to the advent of the internet.
However, earlier ventures into virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies have been met with lukewarm reactions. Google’s internet-connected glasses and Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens headset faced challenges in winning over consumers. Magic Leap, a startup initially focused on mixed reality, shifted its attention to industrial, healthcare, and emergency applications after struggling with consumer marketing.
Apple’s new product will have to answer key questions concerning its functionality, aesthetics, comfort, and cost. Although early pricing expectations could temper initial excitement, tech analysts expect Apple’s innovative technology to make waves in the market.
The iPhone, Apple’s flagship product, sold fewer than 12 million units in its first year but is now a global phenomenon with over 200 million units sold annually. In comparison, Apple’s new headset is projected to sell around 150,000 units in its first year.
Virtual and augmented reality device shipments have averaged 8.6 million units annually since 2016, according to research firm CCS Insight. These figures are projected to gradually rise to 67 million by 2026. However, these forecasts could be drastically revised if Apple’s new product disrupts the market as anticipated.
Despite the steep challenges, Apple’s track record suggests it could be the one to popularize and revolutionize the mixed reality experience. The tech world eagerly awaits the unveiling of this potentially transformative product.