Apple and the Metaverse: Is Cook taking over for Zuckerberg?
Apple's entry into the XR headset market is imminent - and company CEO Tim Cook suddenly sounds a lot like Mark Zuckerberg.
The market launch of Apple's XR headset will probably be delayed. However, this is not related to Tim Cook's attitude toward VR and AR, which is in fact very positive. In a portrait in GQ magazine, he talks about his ideas regarding immersive media.
“If you think about the technology itself with augmented reality, just to take one side of the AR/VR piece, the idea that you could overlay the physical world with things from the digital world could greatly enhance people’s communication, people’s connection”
This sounds a lot like Mark Zuckerberg's vision for VR and AR. He considers the Metaverse and its associated technologies to be a social experience that could fundamentally improve social interaction. You can read a preview of the technology Meta plans for the next few years in the linked article.
“There is this environment that may be even better than just the real world”
The Apple CEO didn't always have this attitude. “We always thought that glasses were not a smart move, from a point of view that people would not really want to wear them”, Cook says. “We always thought it would flop, and, you know, so far it has.”
So far, no one has launched an AR headset suitable for everyday use, and that's likely to take a while. Mixed Reality headsets could serve as an intermediate step towards this goal - Apple is apparently also betting on this with its upcoming XR-Headset.
In any case, Cook's attitude toward AR headsets as technical aids changed already some time ago. Like Mark Zuckerberg, who continues to back the idea of a metaverse despite many setbacks with Meta, Cook believes that digital collaboration in physical space is the future - even without using the M-word.
“It could empower people to achieve things they couldn’t achieve before. We might be able to collaborate on something much easier if we were sitting here brainstorming about it and all of a sudden we could pull up something digitally and both see it and begin to collaborate on it and create with it. And so it’s the idea that there is this environment that may be even better than just the real world—to overlay the virtual world on top of it might be an even better world. And so this is exciting. If it could accelerate creativity, if it could just help you do things that you do all day long and you didn’t really think about doing them in a different way.”