Apple’s headset will land at a shaky time for the metaverse [Video]


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Apple (AAPL) is expected to roll out its highly anticipated AR/VR headset during its WWDC developer conference in June. The VR/AR device will be the first new major product release from Apple since it debuted its first-generation AirPods seven years ago. To say the headset is an important product for the company is an understatement.

But the device, which Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says will be called either the Reality Pro or Reality One, is coming at a rocky time for VR/AR and the metaverse as a whole. Between a lack of engaging content and companies like Microsoft (MSFT) and Disney (DIS) shuttering divisions behind their own metaverse efforts, Apple will have its work cut out for it in ensuring that its product is a success.

“A fully realized Metaverse is still at least a decade away,” explained Ramon Llamas, research director for International Data Corporation’s devices and displays team.

“And I don’t think it’s possible for any company, even if you’re Apple, to come in and say, ‘Here’s our very first VR headset or AR headset,’ and then say, ‘Okay, now we have a metaverse.’ ”

Apple CEO Tim Cook gestures at the Apple Fifth Avenue store for the release of the Apple iPhone 14 range in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

And while Apple has a proven track record of breaking into established markets and revolutionizing them, this will surely be its most difficult test yet.

Apple has proven its mettle before

So far, Meta (META) is the undisputed leader in the AR/VR space. The company, according to The Verge, has sold 20 million Quest headsets to date and controlled 81% of global market share as of Q4 2022, according to CounterPoint Research.

But Apple has entered and taken over markets dominated by other firms before. Remember BlackBerry? The iPhone all but ended that company’s reign. Fitbit? It got bought up by Google after losing ground to the Apple Watch, which is now the industry leader. The iPad is the go-to tablet, and AirPods revolutionized truly wireless earbuds.

Apple’s Reality headset, which Bloomberg reports will cost $3,000, could be another Apple product that upends an existing industry and, in turn, drives greater…