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For years, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has been leaking information about Apple’s upcoming Headphone XR. Now, on the eve of his possible revelations, he’s skeptical. Could the Apple Headset suffer the same fate as HoloLens and others?
Since the hype in 2016, sales of VR, AR, and the latest XR headset have fallen short of expectations. With Meta and Sony, two big companies are still investing in XR hardware, though Meta is clearly taking a bigger risk than Sony, which is “only” launching a VR headset as a console accessory with PSVR 2. Other big companies like Microsoft or Samsung seem to have pulled out Or did not enter (such as LG).
Gorman said that the Apple Headset may be a failure
Some predict that Apple’s entry into the headphone market will give the industry a boost. But why really? Could Apple’s hardware and software really be so far ahead of all previous attempts that suddenly everything the XR suffered from, such as lots of weight, hassle, and limited usage scenarios, would suddenly work?
In his recent “Power On” newsletter, Gurman describes Apple’s headset as a technological marvel that is clearly superior to anything currently on the market. However, he said it was still “impractical and too expensive for most consumers”.
According to Gurman, the device lacks a killer app. Apple hopes that immersive video, integration with other Apple products, and real-time Facetime VR calls will appeal to consumers. “I am skeptical that the approach will be sufficient,” Gorman wrote.
He also said that the headset does not offer a clear advantage over existing Apple products. “The price is high, the uses are limited, and most consumers are wary,” Gorman writes.
So far, he said, Apple has entered the existing markets with a new but better product. But AR and VR headsets are a new product category, and consumers aren’t convinced to buy them yet. At stake, Gorman said, is Apple’s reputation as a “guaranteed hitmaker”.
The Apple headset could be positioned as a preview of the future of computing
Apple also expects the request to be silenced. The company is said to be planning to produce around 1 million devices only in the first year. The often-criticised iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch sold millions of units in the first weeks and months after their release.
Gorman said Apple may try to field its first headphone as a preview of future products. Apple’s marketing department may have to tread more cautiously than usual to do so. Rapid development and a sub-$1,000 price tag with longer battery life should follow the launch. Apple is already rumored to be working on another, less expensive mixed reality headset.
Gurman sees a similar advance to the iPhone only with a true AR headset that brings the price, features, and battery life to the iPhone. However, Apple is said to have recently delayed this headset indefinitely due to technical issues.
Gorman said that some people in Apple’s management are convinced that the new product category has the potential in the long term to replace the iPhone as the company’s hallmark. He said the inner vision is about a headset that can be worn all day and everywhere to replace laptops and smartphones. Apple’s first mixed reality headset could be a bait for that future, or, as Gorman fears, a “bomb.”
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