Metavers: Apple takes on Meta with its 'Vision Pro' headset

Metavers: Apple takes on Meta with its «Vision Pro


Apple on Monday unveiled its first major innovation in more than seven years, a “mixed” reality headset (virtual and augmented) that could deal a fatal blow to the “metaverse”, a nebulous concept of an internet immersive 3D carried by its rival Meta, according to specialists.

Tim Cook, the boss of the apple brand, did not once mention the term “metaverse” during the presentation of his “Vision Pro”, a helmet resembling a ski goggle which allows the user to choose the desired degree of immersion, thanks to a wheel that switches from augmented reality (AR, superimposition of virtual elements on reality) to virtual reality (VR, complete immersion).

“Tim Cook has publicly stated that he doesn't like using that word, that he doesn't think it has any real meaning,” said James Whatley, chief strategy officer at Diva, a marketing agency.

Still, with this “revolutionary new product”, marketed from 3,499 dollars at the beginning of next year, the Californian technology giant is actually setting foot on the ground of its rival Meta (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and its Quest Pro headset, which costs 1,199 euros.

Virtual reality is currently dominated by the social media giant – its Quest brand headsets represented more than 80% of the market at the end of 2022 -, according to the firm Counterpoint.

At the end of 2021, Facebook became Meta with the idea of ​​becoming a metaverse company, described by boss Mark Zuckerberg as the future of the internet, after the web and mobile .

But this new strategic priority has been plagued by failed launches, dodgy graphics, the lack of a clear path to profitability, and the general feeling that few people know what it's all about yet.

< p>“The sooner Meta gets away from that word, the better it will be able to fight Apple's encroachment into that space,” said James Whatley, while Reality Labs, Metaverse's dedicated “metaverse” division , has lost $4 billion so far.

Long-term potential

However, according to Tom Ffiske, who runs the specialist newsletter Immersive Wire, Apple is adopting a different strategy.

“Apple is not looking to build a large ecosystem (…) with a cheaper device, like Meta with the Quest range,” he points out. “The company instead seeks to monetize an already lucrative subsection of its audience with high-margin subscriptions and software.”

“Apple has rightly and in a very traditional way rooted this technology in real-world experiences,” adds Whatley. A vision that contrasts, according to him, with that of Meta, consisting in “creating a 3D avatar of oneself with legs that may or may not exist in a world where there is nothing to do”.

What makes Martin Peers, of the website dedicated to new technologies The Information, say that Apple had just made Meta look like BlackBerry, the defunct Canadian smartphone manufacturer, by providing “a credible vision of the long-term potential of augmented reality.”

Yet analysts remain divided on the prospect of such products ever taking off with the mainstream, even though immersive technology is still in its infancy and that there would finally be enough room for the two Silicon Valley giants.

Especially since Google discontinued its Google Glass last month for good – augmented reality glasses that don't have never found their audience.