Why Apple’s VR /AR Headset Could be the Next iPhone | by Liz Martin | January, 2023

For years, the iPhone has been Apple’s hero product. But recent changes suggest that things won’t be that way for much longer. Is Apple’s new headset poised to take its place?

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But the iPhone’s glory days may be over because in 2019, things started to change. For the first time since 2012, the iPhone brought in less than half of Apple’s total sales. The iPhone was growing up and its booming growth was slowing down.

Apple has a reputation for being innovative, but when it comes to the iPhone they’re not innovating enough. Except for the recent addition of the dynamic island, the changes to the iPhone have been incremental within the last few years.

When there’s little to no difference between each model, users have no reason to make a costly upgrade. And upgrades are what bring in a large chunk of Apple’s iPhone sales.

Apple is in need of its next big thing — a technological leap that the company can use to its advantage. Something that will drive the next decade of growth as did the iPhone.

And Apple has likely found this next big thing in its mixed reality headset.

For years, it’s been rumored that Apple is working on a headset that features both virtual and augmented reality — blending physical and digital worlds.

It’s speculated that it will look like Meta’s VR Quest headset. But the design will be sleeker and more lightweight. It will have high-resolution OLED displays and a dozen cameras.

Users will be able to interchange headbands. And as is the case with the Apple Watch, users will connect it with the iPhone.

When you consider what Apple has been working on for the past few years, this isn’t hard to believe. In 2015 and early 2016, the company began hiring people with expertise in AR and VR technology.

And Apple has made several acquisitions. In 2018, they purchased Akonia Holographics, a company that makes lenses for augmented reality glasses.

Apple has filed many reality headset-related patents. They’ve been working advanced AR tools into the iPad and iPhone.

And in 2021, the company introduced new assistive touch features. With this new update, users can control their Apple Watch with simple hand gestures–the type of technology that would pair perfectly with an augmented reality headset.

This mixed-reality headset falls into the category of wearable devices. And this category has a lot of potential.

Because in the same year that the iPhone was lagging behind in sales, wearable devices like the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones were picking up the slack.

According to Tim Cook, these products are the size of a Fortune 150 company. And they’re attracting new customers.

For years, the iPhone has been the first-ever Apple product that people purchased. But by 2020, many customers were entering Apple’s ecosystem through the Apple Watch.

As more details emerge about Apple’s headset design, features, and its $3,000 price tag, critics are weighing in. They say that the headset is too expensive, that it will only appeal to a small audience, and that there is no demand for it.

But then, these are the same criticisms that the first iPhone received before it disrupted the market in 2007 and changed the world:

Bloomberg’s Matthew Lynn wrote,

“iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.”

Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft was quoted as saying,

“Five hundred dollars, fully subsidized, with a plan?! I said, ‘That is the most expensive phone in the world! And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard!’”

And in their article entitled “The Futurist: We Predict the iPhone Will Bomb” a Tech Crunch contributor said,

“That virtual keyboard will be about as useful for tapping out emails and text messages as a rotary phone.”

As companies like Google, Microsoft, and Meta release their own VR headsets and glasses, they would do well to keep a close eye on Apple.

Because if Apple can get this just right, meaning if the company can produce a headset that feels as comfortable as AirPods, looks as stylish as the Apple Watch, and is as well-branded as Beats headphones then it may get the opportunity to relive the glory days of the iPhone.

Question: What is your opinion of Apple’s mixed reality headset?

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