Apple’s future AR/VR headset will have way too many features to list. It could be because not even Apple knows what it’s for.
Apple’s product launches have always been very well planned. The iPhone was a touch-screen web browser, phone, and iPad. Steve Jobs spent a lot of time in an easy chair during his iPad presentation. He did this to show how the new computer should be used.
But its mixed reality gadget, which is expected to come out this year, doesn’t seem to have a point. Mark Gurman, an Apple writer for Bloomberg whose sources are so good that he could be on a plate at a Michelin-starred restaurant, put together a list of features that have no clear direction.
“The list of features for the headset is very long, and it makes you wonder if Apple has lost its way. But this way of doing things may be a blessing in disguise because it gives users more freedom and feedback. “Instead of telling people how to use the device, Apple is giving them the tools to make it fit their needs,” software worker Robin Salvador told Lifewire in an email.
A Mixed Reality Headset for… Everyone
Since the iPhone came out in 2007, a lot has changed in the tech world. Steve Jobs told a famous story about three new products: an iPod with touch controls, “a revolutionary mobile phone,” and “a breakthrough internet communications device.” Of course, all of those things were just one product, and Jobs kept repeating the same message.
But now that iPhone is a powerful computer and camera that fits in your pocket. It is the only computer that many people have. People expect a lot more from a computer these days. Apple’s headset has two problems, and this is one of them.
The first problem is that the mixed reality headset needs to be a general-purpose computing tool so that it can be used by a wide range of people. Most virtual reality headsets on the market today are used for games or for specific tasks in the workplace. For a big company like Apple, that’s not enough of a market. So, it seems to have started with everything at once.
This is possible because all of Apple’s devices use the same operating system. OS X was originally just for the Mac, but it is now used by the Mac, iOS, iPadOS, the Apple TV, the Apple Watch, and even the Studio Display monitor.
Apple doesn’t have to start from scratch. Instead, it can build on the features of its already-made goods. It has been working on the augmented reality features of the headset for years in the iPhone and iPad. The iPad doesn’t need a LiDAR camera that can sense 3D space, but it has one anyway.
It’s a very powerful model, and it means that the headset can start as a full computing platform, even if many of the apps look like they will float in an iPad-shaped window in front of the user’s eyes.
But Why Should You Buy It?
This is Apple’s second problem, though. How can it sell it if it doesn’t know what it’s for?
Kyle MacDonald, VP of mobile device deployment company Mojio, told Lifewire via email, “Perhaps they’re testing the waters and seeing how a more general product, as opposed to their more focused current product lineup, will do with their customers.”
Gurman’s list says that the mixed reality headset will be able to run most current iPad apps. It will also have a new wellness app and focus on games, fitness, video conferencing, collaboration tools, and watching videos. And going to games. …et cetera.
That’s a long list of things that could be interesting to a lot of people. On the other hand, it’s hard to come up with a focused marketing story when there are so many options. Apple focuses on the hardware specs of its other general-purpose computers, like the iPad, iPhone, and Mac, and adds new software features once a year.
If the technology behind the mixed reality headset is really cool, that could work. But people will still need a reason to buy yet another computer platform, especially one that is so hard to use compared to phones, tablets, and PCs.