The technology giant Apple: Before its developer conference, there is speculation about possible new products. © Christian Charisius / dpa
On Twitter, Apple announced a "new era" for its WWDC developer conference. This is likely to be the Group's entry into the field of "mixed reality" with networked glasses.
Cupertino – Apple's fans have been waiting for the proverbial "One More Thing," the next big thing, for nearly a decade. If the rumors are confirmed, the time will come this Monday evening. "A new era begins," Apple announced on Twitter, referring to computer glasses with which Apple wants to redefine the field of so-called "mixed reality".
On the one hand, the device in the form of a kind of high-tech ski goggles should enable virtual overlays in the real world (augmented reality, AR). At the same time, however, you should also be able to immerse yourself completely in virtual worlds (virtual reality, VR). The mixture of AR and VR is called "Mixed Reality" (XR). With the Apple glasses, you should be able to switch between AR and VR with a rotary knob.
After Macintosh, iPhone and iPad: Smart glasses are set to become a huge new innovation
According to media reports, the environment is captured by cameras on the housing and reproduced on displays in front of the eyes – as is the case with competitors' devices. Previously, there was speculation for years about Apple's plans for glasses with clear lenses, in which digital objects are superimposed directly into the user's field of vision. However, according to media reports, the necessary technological breakthroughs are still lacking.
The new smart glasses are supposed to join the ranks of major product innovations that have turned Apple from a small computer pioneer of the 70s into one of the most valuable corporations in the world: Macintosh computers (1984), iMac (1999), iPod (2001), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010) and most recently the Apple Watch (2014).
Apple takes a risk with market entry
However, entering the new segment is associated with considerable entrepreneurial risks for Apple. On the one hand, the market for VR and AR sources has not been particularly large so far. Market researchers at IDC expect that only ten million VR and AR headsets will be sold in 2023. By comparison, over 1.2 billion smartphones were sold worldwide last year.
In addition, Apple has to compete against competitors who have gained many years of experience with the smart glasses and the necessary applications. The Facebook Group even took the planned virtual population of the digital "metaverse" as an opportunity to rename itself Meta.
Facebook group Meta offers cheaper glasses - and will follow up with innovation in the fall
On Thursday last week, Meta tried to take the wind out of the sails of potential competitor Apple with its own announcement. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new model of his Quest glasses for the fall, which will be thinner and more powerful than previous generations. And while the first Apple glasses will cost around 3000 dollars, according to media reports, the "Quest 3" will be available in Germany next fall for 570 euros.
At the same time, Meta also has a more expensive device on the market for 1200 euros with the Quest Pro - and competitor HTC is positioning its Vive XR Elite model for 1400 euros as a mixed reality headset.
New Mac models expected
When it comes to VR games, Apple will also compete with Japanese electronics giant Sony. The PSVR 2023 VR glasses presented by Sony in February 2 cost around 600 euros and have to be connected to the Playstation 5 game console with a cable, which costs another 650 euros.
At Apple's WWDC developer conference, however, it should not only be about the data glasses, but also about Macintosh computers. Like all other PC manufacturers, the group had recently suffered losses in the computer division because the market was saturated after the home office boom during the Corona pandemic. Now, new Mac models are expected to boost business. New MacBooks are expected, but also new models of the professional devices Mac Pro. (dpa, lf)