This week, Apple will mostly focus on its “Far Out” event, which is likely to be where the new iPhone 14 family (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max) and new AirPods and an Apple Watch will be shown off for the first time.
That’s enough for the fans to be happy. But people are already talking about what Apple will do next. At the moment, people think that it’s probably a virtual reality or augmented reality headset. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg says that Apple could be working on not one, but three different models.
The first one, which will probably be called Apple Reality Pro and has the code name N301, could come out as early as next year. This could be followed by the N602, which would be less expensive, and the N421, which is likely to be augmented reality glasses.
Big tech companies seem to have decided that AR and VR headsets will be the next big thing for consumers and businesses when it comes to computers.
In the last few years, tech companies like Facebook and Apple have put billions of dollars into these projects. In the case of Facebook, they have done this openly, while Apple has done it more quietly.
The benefits for big tech are clear: whichever brand comes out on top will be able to help us interact with the visual world around us. There are a lot of ways to advertise, not to mention invade people’s privacy.
But users haven’t been as excited about AR and VR as big tech companies have been, at least not yet. Compared to smartphones or even PCs, headsets still don’t sell as many units.
IDC, a tech research firm, says that the worldwide market for AR and VR headsets grew by 92.1% from 2020 to 2021. However, only 11.2 million headsets were shipped that year, compared to 1.3 billion smartphones. Even though the metaverse has gotten a lot of attention and investment, smartphones and tablets are still used more for VR than headsets.
Of course, a VR headset isn’t the only thing that could be Apple’s next big thing. Rumors about a “Apple Car” that drives itself keep going around and around. A recent survey found that the Apple brand is so strong that a quarter of people who buy a new car would “definitely consider” buying an Apple car, even though it doesn’t exist yet and may never exist.
Whether it’s headphones or cars, I think Apple will stay in the game longer than most people think. As Apple’s interest in services grows, so does the ecosystem around the iPhone. And the smartphone market still has room to grow, especially if Apple makes a foldable iPhone in the future.
Also, it’s not clear that the current state of VR will make Apple feel like it needs to move quickly.