Social media users and the business world now have a general idea of what a meta is, thanks to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s year-long launch of investor calls and the later rebranding of Facebook to Meta. Companies as diverse as Disney, Bumble, Tencent, Warner Music Group, and others have followed in Zuckerberg’s footsteps by using the “metaverse” as a strategic talking point when discussing the Internet based on virtual objects and avatars in the coming years.
But while the Meta may have nearly a decade of commercialization of virtual reality (VR) across the Oculus line of headphones and software, as well as deep research into the field of augmented reality (AR), its active user base is still a small metaverse. Relatively speaking, at less than 10 million users. Among the many successful social media platforms – Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook – Instagram is the one with the most Meta AR focus. Out of the 1.3 billion users on Instagram, nearly 400,000 are building AR effects for the platform using the Meta Spark AR tool. However, these relatively small numbers do not fit in with the broad excitement that has grown around the idea of a metaverse in recent months.
Regardless of the actual number of users, the idea has finally spread to the general business community, whether or not the company has a direct path into the metaverse. Among the big tech pioneers with the potential to truly popularize the metaverse, Apple stands out based on its track record of delivering skeptical consumers to new ways of computing. The latest indication that Apple is preparing to lead the transition into the metaverse comes from Apple-focused analyst Mind-Chi Kuo, who said Apple will unveil its own wearable AR at the end of next year.
What Apple plans to release as its first portal into the metaverse
In TF International Securities’ latest report to Kuo, he wrote that the device “will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022” [and] It will be equipped with two processors. The higher-end processor will have comparable computing power to the M1 for Mac, while the lower-end processor will be responsible for sensor-related computing.” According to Kuo, the headset will also have the ability to deliver virtual reality experiences. The Taiwan-based analyst has become famous for using the sources of its supply chain in Asia to provide early and usually accurate predictions of what Apple will bring into its product pipeline.In 2014, Kuo was among the first to accurately predict the release of the Apple Watch, the company’s first wearable watch.
Although Meta and other companies have spent years marketing their versions of the metaverse, Apple has been largely absent, other than introducing a mobile AR development tool called ARKit. However, since 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly emphasized that AR is a “core technology” for the company. But in its tradition of letting other companies make early public beta mistakes, then follow up with a polished version of an existing idea, Apple is willing to share its claim in the metaverse with a wearable that goes as ubiquitous as the AirPods and iPhones before it.
Apple is perfectly positioned to reclaim its iPhone success by replacing the smartphone with AR
While the migration to the metaverse has been slow, it is gaining momentum. Big Tech’s competitors also include Alphabet, which made the ill-fated Google Glass AR wearable in 2013, and which now includes augmented reality in its Google search engine. Amazon has also started including AR product offerings in some of its e-commerce offerings. Microsoft is ahead of just about everyone, with the HoloLens headset focused strictly on business, industrial, and military.
So far, technical limitations have hampered the creation of lightweight smart AR glasses for the masses. The best and latest example of a major tech player merging true AR capabilities with fashion style is Snap and its wearable Spectacles. But this device is not widely available to the public and is still largely considered an experiment.
If what Apple is doing is a meaningful upgrade of what Snap and others have achieved, it advances what Kuo says is Apple’s plan: “to replace the iPhone with AR within ten years.”