Bild: Marcus Kane mixed
We are just a few days away from revealing the legendary VR/AR headset. A new product from Apple hits hard with reality.
In 2016, when the first VR headsets appeared on the faces of tech enthusiasts, Apple’s CEO didn’t make any good statements about the new hardware. “Nobody here—few people here—think it’s OK to be tethered to a computer that walks here and sits,” he said at a 2016 Utah tech conference. In something, because we are all social people at heart.”
The fairy tale of VR isolation has gone on for too long, largely ignoring the social nature of many VR applications, especially popular multiplayer applications. But the isolation due to the face computer is clearly something subjective that does not fit into trained social behaviour: what I cannot see either does not exist and is therefore not social, or it frightens me because I cannot see it.
Cook has always believed that augmented reality, not virtual reality, is the future. That’s why the tech giant from Cupertino set up its innovation department during the great immersion revival.
The goal: a lightweight and stylish everyday AR headset.
Physicists laughed as Apple laid out the plans
Quietly, and only accompanied by persistent rumors, Apple has been pouring billions into development for seven years. Nobody sees anything concrete: Notorious leakers like Gurman and Kuo continue to fan the flames. But “Technitus Interruptus” happens again and again: the presentation is delayed, next year is supposed to be the right time, this time it’s real.
There are more and more signs that it could actually happen on June 9, 2023, at Apple’s indoor trade show, Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC): Apple’s Headphone XR will be unveiled.
Wait, a mixed reality headset? Does this mean that they are not everyday augmented reality glasses? So it’s just a VR headset with an AR arcade? What happened to their supposed innovations?
Gorman wrote in an article published by: The Final Analysis on Bloomberg. The article is titled “The New Apple Headset Meets Reality”.
After all, Apple cooks with water
So instead of a big innovation that makes the metaverse social technology practical and fashionable for everyday use, we get a VR headset with an AR pass, reminiscent of ski goggles, connected by a power cord to an external battery worn on the hip. Reason: saving weight and reducing heat.
I find this clever and have often wondered why I haven’t used such a solution before, for example with Quest 2 or Quest Pro. The cable is no excuse: With clever cable routing along the back, the cable is barely noticeable, and the battery can be quickly swapped out. The weight saved can actually lead to a huge increase in comfort, which will be a step towards a longer usage time – a key factor for market penetration of this technology.
Apple – surprise! – is also cooking with water: “The product design is also a tacit acknowledgment that the company, like other companies that have made mixed reality headsets, has not been able to solve some basic technology problems.”
Instead, we get a headset from Apple that is completely in line with the previous versions of the XR glasses: it is a hybrid headset like the Quest Pro or perhaps the Vive XR Elite, certainly with different strengths and some weaknesses. But it remains to be seen if this is better than anything the competition has launched so far.
“They’re good at things like this.”
“It can be difficult to start a market, but you have to hand it over to Apple. They’re good at things like this.” What Peggy Johnson, CEO of the wildly ambitious and once-failed augmented reality startup Magic Leap says, is something I hear over and over again from the Apple bubble:
Apple is right. They have created a perfect ecosystem that works together intuitively and seamlessly like no other. Apple hardware and software are designed to provide the best user experience. If anyone can do it, Apple can.
The evocative slogan “App Scientists” ignores one thing: VR and AR isn’t just another OS, and it’s not just another iPhone. They’re not even a new computer, because that means the rules and standards for PCs, laptops, and even smartphones apply to VR and AR. They are only in a very limited way.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two completely new mediums. A new way to interact with and experience digital content. Of course, you can copy digital into immersive, similar to what happens in a so-called digital transformation: put your paper form or newspaper into a PDF or ePaper and name it digitized. Copy your flat game into virtual reality and call it actualization.
We know from experience that this doesn’t work. It is not compelling to use a flat mobile app with a laser pointer data headset. Skyrim or Fallout 4 only became great in VR after the modding community improved the loveless VR version with appropriate UI/UX updates. And the most successful VR games in years are still the ones that were originally designed and built for VR. Not surprisingly, Beat Saber remains the most successful virtual reality game of all time.
Does Apple understand this?
Apple reality: Customers have to wear the headset all day
Now Apple wants to make a new XR model where the VR/AR headset comes without VR controllers: hand tracking will be the new input method. I’m curious as to what magic Apple will use to make manual tracking so much better than the Meta. There is already relatively good hand tracking on the Quest headphones, but it still wasn’t enough for me to use it all the time, especially in apps.
With this and eye tracking, Apple hopes to convince about 900,000 people a year (the original numbers were as high as three million) to buy an XR headset that would cost $3,000. Gurman writes, “Apple’s goal is for customers to eventually wear the device all day and replace it with everyday activities like playing games, browsing the web, writing emails, making FaceTime video calls, collaborating on apps, exercising and even meditation.”
Innovative Apple sounds like every VR/AR startup in the past seven years. It’s the same slogans we hear from Meta at the annual virtual reality resurrection festival, Connect. HTC once tried to get big on meditation and failed miserably. Microsoft still owes it to me to release Minecraft on my living room table.
Again, the big question is: why?
What does it take to really be successful? It is the answer to the question: why?
Until now, this has been Apple’s bread and butter: telling me why I should use the iPhone, iPad, or EarPods. This – along with some fashion-driven elitism combined with technologically advanced devices – continues to create and serve a huge consumer demand. I immediately believe that Apple can and will make an excellent Headset XR.
But can Apple also answer the mixed reality question: Why should I use this awesome technology? I hope so, but I doubt it. Even if all the iPad apps are on the headset: Why should I use 2D apps on the Headset XR when I can actually use them in a much easier and better way the traditional way?
The multi-screen aspect comes out: With a headset, I can theoretically do several things at once, open apps, time face simultaneously, and that’s even if I only have one—or not! – an actual screen.
It looks great, as always (Meta tells similar stories all the time). But: “Features such as the ability to act as an external display for Macs and make multi-person video calls are less advanced than the company initially intended, although it hopes to improve them.” Not exactly Apple, but the same technical and content shortcomings as its competitors. Instead, Apple is hoping the Headset XR will somehow get in the way of it, like the Apple Watch.
“It was very obvious what the iPhone and iPad would do, but the clock zigzags all over the place,” says a person familiar with the product. “The headset will be similar, but there is hope that third-party apps will save it.”
An internal presentation reportedly suggested that people wear the Apple XR headset at parties in the physical world and interact with others in transit.
Well, good luck with this.
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