Why Apple will beat Meta et al. in the mixed-reality headset market

Last week, Bloomberg News‘ Mark Gurman reported that Apple demonstrated an AR/VR, or mixed-reality, headset to its board of directors and has a “consumer release planned for 2023.” Whenever Apple’s headset is released, the company is well-placed to win the mixed-reality battle.

Apple VR/AR headset concept by Antonio DeRosa
Apple VR/AR headset concept by Antonio DeRosa

Trung Phan for Bloomberg Opinion:

Sales of Meta’s Quest 2 hit 8.7 million units in 2021, twice as much as in the prior year, and the company owns 80% of the market.

The Quest 2 sales figure is a drop in the wearables hardware bucket compared with what Apple has been able to move, though. According to Apple analyst Neil Cybart, the iPhone maker shipped more than 100 million wearables (Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats headphones) in 2021, an increase of 4x from 2017. Also, don’t forget the 233 million iPhones it shipped last year.

No other company can move high-end consumer hardware at Apple’s scale.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has the custom silicon. Apple has the installed base. Apple has the ecosystem. Apple has the services. Apple will have the profitable portion of the mixed-reality headset market. And then, a few years later, Apple will take the profitable portion of the smartglasses (AR) market, too.

And some people will slap their foreheads and lament, “I could’ve bought Apple shares under $140!”

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  1. Apple doesn’t have creepy—nor does Apple sell metaverse as a creepy place likely to be the creepiest haven in all of time…nor is it run by Sr. Creepy himself.

  2. Faceb….I mean Meta is all in on VR too. They’ve lost money on the headsets and it has been a lot of money. Meta has been one of the big fish but the only one at the mercy of the rest of the big fish. Apple lowered the boom on them and even Google is slowly, very slowly, narrowing the road. Meta has Facebook (and WhatsApp), these are big time money makers just not as big when their access to a user’s data is limited. So Meta wants a way to get people using their device with their own, sorta, OS and apps. It is user data nirvana for them with revenue potential sky high. And importantly they can keep the other big fish from punk slapping them.

    Apple will beat Meta at AR/VR IF (a big if) they put out a device that has usability. When Apple puts their megaton name behind a product, it has to work well, it has to be useful and it has to have some separator potential. IF Apple does this they’ll win. That is the potential you have when you keep your name a gold standard (screw up that name and they are imperiling yourself).

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