Apple still not in the Metaverse

Apple’s AR products, which have attracted much attention, did not appear at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) as expected.

In the nearly two-hour keynote speech recording session, Apple successively unveiled the functional updates of four major systems, including iOS 16, watchOS 9, macOS 13, and iPadOS 16, and released two laptops with the latest M2 chip— —MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, starting at 9,499 yuan and 9,999 yuan respectively, are expected to be available next month.

Apple still not in the Metaverse

Absent with Apple AR, is this year’s tvOS system update. At the end of the keynote speech, Apple CEO Cook appeared again, saying that the developer beta versions of the above four systems will be open for download after the speech. As of the early morning of June 7, some Chinese users have successively received the developer Beta system update prompt. The official versions of these latest systems will be pushed to all end users this fall.

At Apple’s spring new product launch three months ago, it was rumored that Apple’s AR glasses are expected to appear. , Apple AR does not appear.

Cook’s last mention of AR-related topics was at the fourth quarter 2021 earnings call at the end of January. Cook confirmed to analysts that Apple does indeed intend to develop AR-related technologies and sees “huge potential” in this area. , and “corresponding investments” are also being made internally.

Since eight years ago, news of the upcoming release of Apple AR has been reported from time to time, and the exposure time to market has been delayed from 2019 to 2020, and then to 2021. Bloomberg reported that Apple AR was delayed again this time and failed to appear at the WWDC site, perhaps because the heat dissipation problem has not been resolved, and the release may be delayed until 2023. Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst, said that Apple will find another time during the year to hold a separate conference for AR products.

If you want to see the true appearance of Apple’s AR glasses in 2022, it is still full of uncertainty.

A

In 2015, considered the “first year of VR”, Apple just completed its acquisition of German startup Metaio. The acquisition of this project, which was incubated inside Volkswagen, was originally intended to enhance Apple’s self-driving system with its AR technology, but with the emergence of the virtual reality boom, Apple relied on Metaio to form an AR/VR project team.

In fact, Apple’s layout in AR is much earlier. The first AR-related patent found publicly was Apple’s “head-mounted display screen” designed for the iPod Nano in 2009, which supports projecting images onto the device’s glass display.

In the past five years, Apple has successively acquired more than 10 companies related to VR/AR technology, such as the AR company NextAR acquired in March 2020.

AR is also an area that Cook has always been optimistic about. In an interview with Indenpendent in 2017, Cook said: “AR is a great idea like a smartphone.”

Also starting with the iPhone X in 2017, Apple tried to use the depth-sensing camera technology to implement the Face ID function on the phone. At that time, the outside world analyzed that Apple’s move was intended to speed up the development of next-generation augmented reality software and hardware.

Apple still not in the Metaverse

Cook

According to the news released by “The Information” in May this year, Apple’s VR/AR R&D team once expanded to more than 2,000 people. Some members are from internal hardware and software project teams such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and some are from internal hardware and software project teams. Poached from other agencies such as NASA, audio and video.

This Apple headset, internally code-named N301, has experienced twists and turns in mass production. “The Information” reported that Apple’s board of directors had concentrated on a large number of VR/AR devices and prototypes, demo demonstrations, etc. in 2016. After some product experience, the board of directors determined that this would be a product that requires huge investment. At the same time, Cook, as the CEO, did not show enough enthusiasm, and Jonathan Ivey, the former chief designer of Apple, also disagreed with the team on the product form route.

The original form of the VR all-in-one machine was knocked down and redone, and finally the first product of the Apple headset was finalized on the MR with both VR and AR forms.

Insufficient support from the board, coupled with changes in the product route, have led to changes in the timing of the external launch of Apple’s headsets. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s headset was originally planned to be announced in 2019 and publicly available in 2020, then adjusted to be announced in 2021 and officially released in 2022.

The latest news at the moment is that in mid-May this year, the Apple VR/AR team once again demonstrated the MR headset being tested to the board members, and the research and development of the Reality OS (reality operating system) supporting the hardware is also progressing simultaneously. Bloomberg estimates that Apple’s MR products are expected to be unveiled as soon as this year and will be released next year, with prices expected to be between $2,000 and $3,000.

However, Apple, which has been slow to achieve results in the expansion of the VR/AR market, is tasting the bitter fruit.

The first is the brain drain. According to Bloomberg, Meta, which is all-out betting on the Metaverse, poached about 100 engineers from Apple in the second half of last year. In order to retain key employees, Apple even had to issue huge bonuses in the form of stock to some engineers in chip design, hardware, some software and operations.

B

Apple is not the only smartphone manufacturer that sees the broad prospects of the VR/AR industry.

IDC, an industry research organization, once pointed out that mobile phone manufacturers’ deployment of VR/AR is an inevitable move in the face of the evolution of terminal form competition.

In this regard, Zuckerberg, who has transformed the Metaverse, sees it very clearly. As early as after the $3 billion acquisition of Oculus in 2014, Zuckerberg once said to the public that after missing the design of smartphones and their operating systems, many companies can only become vassals of Google and Apple. “In the future, only with our own hardware platform and system can we control our destiny.”

VR/AR is exactly what Zuckerberg believes is the next- generation computing and communication platform after the mobile phone.

Apple still not in the Metaverse

Domestic smartphone manufacturers, Huami OVs, basically set foot in the VR/AR field at the same time as Apple, and launched their own VR boxes and VR all-in-one machines for use with smartphones around 2016, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan Yuan varies.

Entering 2022, Huami OVs are still expanding related layouts. According to the incomplete statistics of “Smart Things”, in the first quarter alone, four manufacturers announced as many as 13 VR/AR-related patents, involving VR/AR basic technology, appearance design, optical display and other fields.

As shown in Huawei’s patent documents, it supports the bullet screen system to set up a new transparent bullet screen layer above the VR playback video to realize the spatial distribution of the bullet screen, so as to get rid of the restrictions of the screen of electronic equipment, and the area presented by the bullet screen can also be compared to The video itself is larger, improving the viewing experience of the video content.

But a new change is that smartphone manufacturers have begun to invest more in the underlying basic technologies, while reducing the iteration of VR/AR-related hardware products.

After the fire of the Metaverse concept, Apple AR glasses have received special attention again. In an interview with Time Magazine in December last year, Cook said: “The Metaverse and AR are obviously two different words, and I’ll just call it AR.” According to Bloomberg reporter Gurman, inside Apple, Yuan The universe is a taboo word.

Huawei’s rotating chairman also said at the global analyst conference in April this year that the current Metaverse is still in a period of hype.

After the boom in smart hardware manufacturers faded, the handover baton was given to the Internet of Technology.

ByteDance spent billions of dollars to acquire Pico, a VR manufacturer, in August last year. Two months later, Zuckerberg renamed Facebook to Meta, saying that it would build Facebook into a Metaverse company through a five-year layout. For the first time in the fourth quarter of last year, the company announced the results of the company’s Metaverse business Reality Labs, which includes hardware, software and content products related to AR and VR.

C

Whether it is for smartphone manufacturers or technology Internet companies, the current value of VR/AR does not lie in the return at the commercial level. After all, even Pico, which has achieved the top 3 in the global VR industry, is still not profitable yet.

The greater value of these companies deploying VR/AR lies in finding new scenarios for the future and gathering new users. As John Gaeta, vice president of creative strategy at AR star company Magic Leap, said, “These giants themselves are platform builders, and they deeply understand what a platform needs to go through, how long it will take to truly mature, and then Reaching an inflection point…these big platforms are long-term strategic thinkers who can speculate on exactly where technology is going.”

The future of VR/AR is not just a new game console. Zhou Hongwei, founder of Pico, believes that it will be a pan-entertainment terminal, “which will continue to bring the next wave of explosive growth to video and social networking.”

Apple still not in the Metaverse

To achieve this step, we must not only rely on the all-round evolution of products in terms of experience, brand, marketing, content, etc., but more importantly, we must have enough powerful giants to enter the market to help make up for the shortcomings of VR original content ecology. plate.

This is also the deeper meaning of the widespread attention the outside world has paid to Apple’s AR products. A good VR/AR ecosystem is obviously impossible to achieve with a single company called Meta. Even with Zuckerberg’s investment promise to spend nearly 10 billion US dollars a year, the outside world is still not optimistic about Meta’s transformation path, such as Cinda Securities Senior. Analyst Feng Chao once wrote that Zuckerberg’s bet on the Metaverse was a “wrong move”. In his view, the current layout of the Metaverse cannot enhance the user stickiness of Facebook’s original products.

Once Apple really enters the market, with its unparalleled appeal in the field of consumer electronics, with the help of its 34 million developers around the world, its software business ecosystem around the world, and Apple’s continuous financial support, there is no doubt that It will attract more people to join the VR/AR field. Wedbush, an investment bank, believes that this will make the behavior of filling VR/AR-related ecological shortcomings more efficient.

“Come from behind” and detonate a certain category is always Apple’s forte. Whether it is the iPod that came out in 2001, the iPhone that was released in 2007, or the iPad that was released in 2010, although Apple is not a pioneer in any category, Apple can always redefine products and eventually become a segmented product field The NO.1.

This methodology is also validated on TWS headsets. Although Apple is not the originator of this product form, with the launch of AirPods in 2016, Apple has truly made TWS headphones popular. The latest data from Canalys shows that in the first quarter of 2022, the TWS market will grow by 17%. The top three in this quarter are still Apple, Xiaomi and Samsung, but only Apple has achieved growth.

Internally, Apple AR products are also expected to serve as a new engine of growth.

Since the beginning of the year, Apple’s stock price has fallen by 17.9%. In addition to being disturbed by unstable factors such as supply chain tension, the impact of the epidemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the overall sluggish performance of the mobile phone market, which is the core of hardware, is also one of the reasons.

After smartphone sales are gradually approaching the ceiling, the outside world needs to see Apple’s new growth story, and AR is undoubtedly a more suitable path for Apple.

IDC predicts that global shipments of VR headsets will grow to 28.6 million units in 2025, with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 41.4%. The scale of the VR industry will not be underestimated by then. China Merchants Securities predicts that the global VR/AR market will reach nearly 2 trillion yuan in 2025, with an average annual growth rate of about 54%.

Wedbush analyst Dan lves once wrote that AR glasses associated with the concept of the Metaverse are expected to raise Apple’s stock price by $20 per share.

Once Apple’s AR products are successfully launched, this may be an additional point that will push Apple back to $3 trillion.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/apple-still-not-in-the-metaverse/
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