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Apple’s Reality Pro headset could make augmented reality cool

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As Apple prepares to enter the long-rumored augmented reality space on Monday, suspicions are looming over every step of the way. There are also reports of frequent turnarounds. Skepticism inside Apple. The device is said to have been difficult to manufacture and required many compromises. This process took years longer than Apple expected. And at the rumored $3,000 mark, even Apple is reportedly expected to see a slowdown in near-term sales.

But there is an air of jubilation among AR professionals. “This is the biggest thing that could happen to this industry,” says Jay Wright, CEO of VR/AR collaboration platform Campfire 3D. “Make hardware or make software. We’re excited about it.”

No Industry Needs Apple’s ‘It Just Works’ Mentality Like AR

lay the foundation positive reviews Industry pioneers such as Palmer Lucky, makers of AR hardware and software, say they can finally validate Apple’s decade-long attempt to bring the technology mainstream. Part of this optimism comes from Apple’s rumored specs, including a lightweight design and possibly a very high-spec screen.

Proponents point to Apple’s history of entering the market after others have laid the groundwork, as it does with mobile phones. But much of it can be summed up in his two statements: Apple can sell hardware, and Apple can sell hardware. nice.

No technology field needs Apple’sit just works” promises more than AR. (This format is sometimes called “mixed reality” or “XR” to highlight how confusing the consumer pitch is.) Pure consumer VR is a small market. No, it’s amalgamation around relatively popular genres such as fitness apps, SteamVR and Quest stores, and widely used controller schemes.

AR makes no such warranties.

That hardware can range from large headsets with advanced tracking capabilities to smart glasses that just display alerts. That software is often aimed at very specific business uses. There is still no uniform agreement on control schemes.

According to numerous leaks, Apple’s headsets use so-called “pass-through” AR. It has a high-definition screen and can run full VR applications, but it’s also sprinkled with cameras that can pass through high-definition images of the real world. Rumor has it that you’ll have to press the “reality dial” to switch. Between AR and VR. In other words, it can provide the illusion of virtual objects overlaying the real world.

Passthrough avoids some of the problems faced by AR glasses such as Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens, such as translucent virtual objects and limited field of view. Meta, the leader in consumer headsets, chose this style for its Quest Pro design last year. But the Quest Pro’s video feed was grainy and washed out, limiting the practical use of AR mode. For example, virtual offices required complex synchronization processes with Macs or PCs. And Meta has generally focused on the low end of his VR and AR markets. He’s also incorporated passthrough as a selling point for the upcoming $499 Quest 3.

In contrast, several speculate that Apple’s headset is more like the Tesla Roadster, the flashy, expensive sports car that sold people the concept of an electric car. “Apple makes devices in a way that people are actually comfortable and comfortable and they care about it,” said senior vice president of Spatial, a 3D social platform that has appeared in numerous AR and VR devices. President Jacob Loewenstein said.

“There will be a lot of trash there, and there will be nice things.”

The exact uses of the rumored Apple tech are not yet known. CEO Tim Cook has said that AR is for “communication” and “connection,” and will reportedly include a FaceTime feature that can render people’s faces and bodies.this is was also told to provide Access to iPad apps, games, entertainment, and versions of Apple Fitness Plus via Apple’s TV app. “One of the reasons I think Apple is so successful in so many businesses is because Apple isn’t just launching devices, they’re building ecosystems,” says VR/ Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen, covering the AR market. “A ‘killer app’ is a combination of different applications that apply to different use cases for different users.”

Reportedly, Apple doesn’t expect a large initial market for the device. We’ve lowered our forecast to less than 1 million iPhones per year, compared to over 200 million iPhones. Still, some predict a gold rush of app designers trying to replicate the success of early iPhone developers, despite rumors about the device’s price. “Wait, why don’t you just make a silly version of an application that people like, like one of the first to-do apps on Apple headsets?” Vice president of browser-based VR collaboration platform Frame his Gabe Baker said: “There’s going to be a lot of trash out there, and there’s going to be nice stuff. It’s going to be a good time.”

Apple has an ambiguous relationship with web developers who form a niche but notable subset of the AR/VR industry. Safari lags badly Support for WebXR, a common standard for browser-based immersive experiences on iOS. But the browser will reportedly launch on headsets, putting web-based AR in the spotlight. “We’re cautiously optimistic that Apple will actually make Safari a viable application on their next hardware,” he said. “Meta has proven that web browsers can actually be a medium for high-quality immersive content, and Apple would love to have it in their headsets.”

The iPhone’s decade-plus dominance has demonstrated many of the downsides of “just having it”. Apple has mastered the walled garden, but many app developers working within it aren’t happy with the results. It has been in court for years with high-profile developers such as Epic and Match Group, and others have also testified in Congress that their apps have been locked down and compromised by Apple’s own copycats. .

Apple continues to foray into areas where it beat out some of the tech giants

But for AR and VR developers, the desert may be the alternative to Apple’s walled gardens. As headsets failed to capture more and more consumer markets, many apps, especially non-gaming apps, turned to more traditional computing devices. The major exception is Meta, which disappoints with Quest 2 for VR. It’s causing the opposite problem. Some developers and regulators are concerned that Meta may dominate the emerging industry, and some competing hardware companies have expressed frustration at the lowest prices on the ad-supported Quest.

“I think the other thing that’s fascinating is the arms race that’s going to start between Meta and Apple. Never before have these two giants faced each other on a new platform,” Loewenstein said. And for hardware makers, Apple’s entry isn’t necessarily bad. The AR glasses market is small enough that new attention to this area is welcome.

Despite the excitement within the industry, Apple continues to push into areas where it has beaten some of the tech giants. Both Google and Microsoft have debuted AR headsets with fancy consumer applications (for Microsoft, Mine Craft) ended up being a less ambitious enterprise product. So does the heavily funded startup Magic Leap.

Furthermore, few people seem to think of passthrough AR as an endpoint for media. As Nguyen points out, pass-through headsets pose fundamental safety risks compared to more glasses-style systems. If the video feed is choppy or dark, the user will be temporarily blinded. As such, it is unsafe to use outside of a controlled home or office environment. “I see Apple devices as an alternative to my girlfriend’s iMac,” says Nima Shams, vice president of her DigiLens, which has long made optics for glasses-style headsets. “I can’t believe this device will replace my iPhone for him.” Apple is also reportedly working on a transparent, non-pass-through headset, which everyone expected on Monday. Not a thing.

There are practical reasons to believe that Apple is better positioned than these companies.For one, technology have Apple has matured significantly since Google began testing Glass in 2012, Microsoft announced HoloLens in 2015, and Magic Leap announced its first products in 2018. Second, Apple has a track record in consumer hardware that virtually no other company can match. This includes not only carefully crafted industrial designs and interfaces such as trackpads, but also proprietary chips that are quite powerful in recent years. “Had we faced rumors of a similar headset made by someone other than Apple, I don’t think it would have been as successful,” said IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani. “Apple has enormous scale, enormous developer support, enormous consumer support, but nothing else comes close.”

But the most emotionally persuasive argument is simply that Apple can make even strange-looking products like the AirPods compared to others. sperm tips — Socially acceptable. Lowenstein says: “The key has always been very simple: Will this work? Is this comfortable? So is this cool? From the famous photo of the MWC audience to the much-maligned CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s legless avatar, the company’s uncoolness is a joke: “Apple has a cool factor.” I think there is.”

What if not? Well, if you’ve been in the consumer AR world for this long, you can probably live with the disappointment.

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