Last month we reported that Apple will bring its virtual reality/mixed reality plans to fruition in 2022 with a mixed reality (MR)R headset. While information about the device remains strictly unofficial, rumors are starting to highliht what Apple’s foray into VR might bring.
According to details from The Information, we now know a little more about what to expect. For example, Apple is bringing several 8K displays, over a dozen cameras, and next-generation hand and eye tracking technology.
We also get some more hints that Apple will take the ultra-premium route Microsoft took with HoloLens. It seems Apple MR will cost $3,000, which undercuts HoloLens 2 by $500 but is still hugely expensive. So much so that it is increasingly clear Apple will not be targeting consumers with this headset.
Of course, Apple has hardly got a reputation for making affordable tech hardware. In many ways a multi-thousands price tag is par for the course when thinking of an entry into a growing marketing. However, when consumer VR and MR headsets are priced at sub $1000 and often sub $500, it is clear Cupertino is taking a different approach.
Early reports suggest the headset will be niche but will have consumer capabilities, such as gaming, communication, and video. Furthermore, it could also support AR in some capacity. With details now pointing to a $3,000 price, it is more likely there will be little consumer appeal.
In much the same way Microsoft’s HoloLens is directly for enterprise, it seems Apple’s headset will be the same. Microsoft has in many ways cornered the space in terms of enterprise integration of augmented reality. It is worth noting Apple’s device may not be seen as a direct competitor.
Yes, it will be a business-focused headset but it is believed the AR capabilities will be limited. All signs of Apple’s focus in this area show the company sees AR as the future. Does that mean this upcoming MR headset is a stop gap until Cupertino delivers a true AR headset?
Picking the Moment
It’s not uncommon for Apple to enter an existing market and define it while also creating hardware that is expensive. Indeed, the company has done it with digital music players (iPod), smartphones (iPhone), tablets (iPad), and smart watches (Apple Watch). None of those product categories are Apple inventions, but the company’s devices became the defining examples within those categories.
That success rests on Apple knowing when to enter a growing market. IDC predicts the virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality market will jump 46.2 percent this year. In other words, now may be the time for Apple to jump in with a product.
Whether it will become defining like other devices remains to be seen.
Tip of the day:
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