Unlike some companies, Apple is not jumping onto the metaverse bandwagon. Instead, its new augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headset is intended for a more mindful gaming experience. Is Apple really focusing on the user for their headset design, or is there a darker theme of the metaverse that they are trying to avoid?
In contrast, Apple is more mindful of its users when creating headsets. Some reports have leaked that Apple’s VR headset will be designed for shorter use periods, instead of an “all-day device.” This allows users to be more aware of screen time and to talk breaks easily, helping to avoid prolonged periods of eye strain. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, augmented reality is preferred because “This gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things for both of us to see.”
Outlook: Is Apple onto Something with Their Metaverse Headset?
Whether Apple is working on making headset technology more disciplined, they may also be trying to distance themselves from other headsets (specifically Facebook’s) for other reasons. The term “metaverse,” while seeming to be successful for Facebook’s branding, has mixed connotations. As the term was coined from a dystopian science-fiction novel, some individuals see the metaverse as a way to escape reality and its problems. Others see the metaverse as the next privacy issue, as many ethical questions still need to be addressed. Perhaps Apple is noticing these negative connotations and hesitancies and wants to create a device separate from these things. Or perhaps, like many good marketing strategies, it just wants to stand out.
Kenna Castleberry is a staff writer at the Debrief and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). She focuses on deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology. You can find more of her work at her website: https://kennacastleberry.com/