What will it take to convince hundreds of millions of "normal" people to walk around in their daily lives wearing a pair of virtual reality headsets?
The world's largest tech company may soon have the answer. After changing the course of consumer product history with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple (Apple shares - ticker AAPL) would be about to launch its first headset for augmented reality. In fact, for a company that made $ 379 billion in revenue last year, it takes a revolutionary idea to tip the balance.
Expand your core business
Apple protects its secrets better than many world governments. But we know, thanks to sources who spoke to The New York Times, that the company plans to ship its first headset next year, entering a competitive landscape:
- The VR market is currently dominated by Mark Zuckerberg's Meta, who last year sold 10 million Quest 2 headsets for a 78% market share, according to research firm IDC. Meta has 17.000 employees working on "metaverse" technology, backed by a quarterly budget of $ 3 billion, but Quest is mostly limited to the gaming niche.
- Apple, which sold 240 million iPhones, or half of the company's $ 366 billion in revenue last year, is in no niche. Citi analysts predict that by 2030, one billion people, equal to the current number of iPhone users, will use headphones, creating a $ 2.000 trillion market. A market worthy of Apple.
Plan of attack
Apple has hired major Hollywood directors, including Jon Favreau from Spider-Man: No Way Home, to make content for the device. But Apple didn't become a $ 2,3 trillion megacorporation just to make it easy to watch Marvel reruns with ski goggles.
Thanks to the 2017 acquisition of Vrvana, Apple bought "pass-through" technology that allows the wearer to see the world around them with overlapping digital images, meaning everything from making payments to getting directions road, could be done hands-free.
Analysts dream of a commercial breakthrough equal to that of the iPhone. "There is a possibility that there is no need for the phone and augmented reality glasses will become the next computing platform," Cristiano Amon, CEO of chip maker (and supplier of Apple and Meta) Qualcomm, told the FT.