Apple is preparing to unveil its highly anticipated mixed-reality headset, which is expected to come with a hefty price tag of $3,000. However, the timing couldn’t be worse, as interest in virtual reality headsets and the metaverse has significantly declined.
Bloomberg columnist Mark Gurman describes the device as resembling ski goggles and requiring a separate battery pack. Reports suggest that Apple is hoping people may wear the headsets to parties and interact with others through external devices, but this prospect doesn’t seem compelling enough to justify the high cost. The pressure is on for Apple to deliver a successful product, as experts warn that it could potentially become one of the biggest tech flops of all time.
The mixed-reality headset has been in development at Apple since 2015, involving over 1,000 engineers and costing the company more than $1 billion annually. However, the project has faced challenges, with executives struggling to identify a suitable use case.
Initially, Apple had hoped to create a sleek fashion accessory, but compromises were made along the way. The device is rumored to feature an outward-facing display that mimics the wearer’s facial expressions, potentially setting it apart from competitors but also raising concerns about social awkwardness.
Considering the declining interest in virtual reality and the challenges faced during development, it is clear that Apple’s mixed-reality headset faces an uphill battle. The rumored price point of $3,000 makes it a tough sell, especially when compared to the diminishing hype among teenagers, a key target audience for such technology. Moreover, wearing bulky goggles attached to a battery pack may fail to attract buyers and become a source of embarrassment rather than a status symbol.
Former Apple marketing executive Michael Gartenberg has doubts about the device’s success, suggesting that it could end up as one of the most significant tech failures in history. While the company may feel internal pressure to innovate and introduce the “next big thing,” the current circumstances make it challenging to meet those expectations.
Additionally, leaked information about the headset’s features and potential usage scenarios has not inspired confidence, particularly regarding wearing reality-augmenting technology at social events.
Google’s previous attempt with Google Glasses is a cautionary tale, demonstrating the difficulty of selling wearables designed for social settings. Such devices are resource-intensive investments that can easily backfire for companies that fail to strike the right balance.
With the pressure mounting, Apple must deliver an exceptional product to avoid what experts could be a monumental tech failure. The company’s long and expensive development process and internal pressure for innovation underscores the high stakes involved.
Only time will tell if Apple’s mixed-reality headset can overcome these obstacles and become a groundbreaking success or another technological cautionary tale.