Apple prefers to invest in “space computers” instead of Metaverse
Apple has unveiled its own virtual reality headset, dubbed “Vision Pro”. It will go on sale in 2024 and cost around $3,500. This is the first new product launch for the Apple brand in almost ten years.
That’s a lot of money. For $3,499, the new “Vision Pro” virtual reality headset, unveiled by Apple on Monday, May 5, should enable its purchaser to enter the era of the “space computer”.
These new goggles, with their futuristic design resembling a ski mask, represent a major challenge for Apple boss Tim Cook. Indeed, this is the first launch of a new product since the release of the Apple Watch in 2014.
Is this a new gamble for Apple? Reinventing the way users are supposed to interact with computing, but also with their environment. This headset lets you see – like real glasses – your surroundings while displaying additional information on the interface/screen in front of your eyes: this is its augmented reality aspect.
On the other hand, it also enables total immersion in virtual reality, in the same way as multiple “VR” (“virtual reality”) headsets, such as those from Facebook or Sony, to evolve in a 100% digital universe, made up of video games, dematerialized conference rooms and so on.
This launch also aims to succeed, where Facebook is struggling to make its mark with its Oculus headsets (the virtual reality brand bought by Mark Zuckerberg for $2 billion in 2014). Without ever naming it, Apple also wants to dominate this metaverse, which is supposed to be the future of the Internet.
Tim Cook calls it the “space computer”. It’s not just a difference in terminology. Facebook is banking on a world where users can consume entertainment while being showered with ads that bring in money for Mark Zuckerberg’s empire. Apple’s core business is objects. For Tim Cook, it’s not so much a question of the future of the Internet as the future of computers and smartphones. Because, in the long term, these headsets should enable Apple to continue flooding the market with its products, even when the world tires of buying a new iPhone every year.
Apple sets the price of the headset very high, while Facebook’s latest virtual reality headset costs $500. It’s true that Apple is known for its high-end products, which cost more than the competition. But in this case, it’s seven times the price of its main rival.
The explanation for this pricing policy would be that this first version of the mixed reality (virtual and augmented) headset is not really aimed at the public, stresses the Financial Times. Rather, it would be a first step into the deep end, with a headset that industry professionals can afford, in order to think up applications or games specifically for this object. And when the whole ecosystem is ready – headset and dedicated applications – Apple could release a more affordable version for ordinary people. But at present, there’s no guarantee that this goal will ever be achieved.