The next major product from Apple (AAPL), is expected to be an AR/VR headset Unveiled at a WWDC event in June. That puts the company and CEO Tim Cook on a direct collision course with market leader Meta.
In an interview with GQCook explains his vision for an AR/VR device and how it can help consumers. Likely to upset Meta (META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Cook says the tool could “dramatically enhance people’s connections, their communication.”
While he doesn’t mention a meta, or confirm that a headset is on its way, Cook’s statement is, nonetheless, a shot across the company’s arc. Zuckerberg and company have been working on AR/VR headsets for years, ever since the company acquired headset maker Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion.
Part of that effort has been the development of the metaverse, a series of interconnected online worlds where users can, you guessed it: connect and communicate.
Meta is currently offering Meta Horizon Worlds, a kind of early version of the metaverse where users can meet as a virtual avatar and play games, watch concerts, or just hang out and chat. Meta is also collaborating with Microsoft (MSFT) to bring that company’s productivity apps and Microsoft 365 to its Quest headset.
While the Meta’s efforts are largely based on virtual reality at this point, Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal is to make a lightweight headset that can overlay the virtual world over the physical world via augmented reality. This is exactly what Cook is looking for.
“It’s the idea of having this environment that might be even better than just the real world — overlaying the virtual world on top of it might be a better world,” Cook said.
This is exactly the cool world Meta and Zuckerberg hope to occupy as well. The company already has a decent lead over Apple, with 22 million Quest headphones in the wild. But Apple has already proven time and time again that it can enter the established space as a newcomer and effectively seize power to become the dominant force.
Look no further than the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods for proof that Apple can take an incumbent and leave it in the dust.
Apple and Meta have an acrimonious relationship. The iPhone maker’s privacy stance has limited Meta’s ability to track users while browsing the web via Safari or across apps via App Transparency Tracking (ATT). ATT allows users to choose whether they want apps to track them across other apps and the web. Declining the option means Meta doesn’t get a good look at consumers’ browsing habits, which hurts its ability to sell targeted ads.
Meta estimates that the feature will cost the company up to $10 billion in 2022 alone.
Meta now appears to be crossing that roadblock but is now facing a slowdown in the digital advertising market.
Cook has also repeatedly called on app developers to dump user data, broaching the subject during press events and college commencement speeches.
For its part, Meta hit back at Apple, aiding Epic Games in its antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant. In this lawsuit, Epic challenged Apple’s ability to force app makers to use Apple Store payment methods.
For now, Meta is still the leader in the AR/VR market. But with an Apple headset on the way. All of this could change soon.
by Daniel HollyTechnical Editor at Yahoo Finance. follow him @employee
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