It has been quite a while since we started hearing rumors about Apple’s mixed-reality headset. In recent months, a lot of extra details about the product have leaked out on the internet, as it is expected to be introduced sometime this year. Interestingly, one of these reports pointed out that Apple has been investing in an immersive Apple Store experience. But if the company wants the headset to become a hit, it will need more than just an Apple Store app in VR.
Apple’s mixed reality headset
For those not following the rumors, Apple has reportedly been working on its first headset that will offer both augmented and virtual reality capabilities. The product, which may be called the “Apple Reality Pro,” will let users enter an immersive universe to watch videos, chat with other people, and even play games.
All of this will be powered by extremely powerful hardware, which includes 4K micro-LED displays for each eye, advanced sensors for motion and gesture detection, high-resolution cameras, and the M2 chip. However, such technology will come at a price, and the latest reports suggest that Apple’s mixed reality headset will cost around $3,000.
Of course, to convince people to buy such an expensive device, Apple will need to offer some killer built-in features. And according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, one of these features will be an Apple Store app with AR/VR-based features.
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple has been developing augmented reality features for the Apple Store app. With the new headset, users will be able to see 3D models of Apple products and check out more information about them right there. Some of these features may also be available for iPhone and iPad users with iOS 17.
Another recent report from The Information suggested that Apple wants to allow users to create their own AR/VR apps just by asking Siri. Although the feature sounds very futuristic, it doesn’t seem enough to convince people to spend $3,000 on a headset.
The headset needs killer apps
At this point, based on what we know, it seems that Apple’s rumored headset doesn’t have any killer apps. Let’s take the Apple Store app as an example. I have no doubt that Apple will promote the shopping experience with the headset as something revolutionary. But at the end of the day, no one really wants to pay to see a store catalog in front of you – that’s basically paying for advertisements.
I remember when Apple introduced the first Apple TV with tvOS, and one of the demos during the keynote showed how users could buy clothes directly on their TV. Apple was really confident that this would be the future, but it turns out that nobody seemed really interested in something like this. Unsurprisingly, the app was later discontinued.
A consensus among all reports about the upcoming headset is that FaceTime will be one of its main features. This is because users will be able to see each other as if they were in the same environment. Again, that sounds really cool, but how many times a day do you actually call someone? Would you pay $3,000 to use FaceTime?
And I don’t even need to say much about what I think of apps created by Siri. I can’t even play the songs I want using Siri on my HomePods.
Apple should embrace third-party apps
What really has the potential to make Apple’s mixed reality headset a hit are third-party apps. Even though the iPhone is great on its own, it has only become extremely popular and desirable because of the App Store. Entire businesses have emerged thanks to the iPhone and the App Store. And if Apple wants to have another successful product with the headset, it needs to embrace the third-party apps.
The watchOS App Store looked promising at first, but the APIs available for the Apple Watch were so limited that many big developers have abandoned the platform. And when tvOS was introduced, Apple TV had the potential to become a gaming device – but Apple had silly restrictions like requiring all apps to be compatible with Siri Remote. Now, game developers simply don’t care about Apple TV anymore.
I really hope that Apple will let developers take advantage of the full potential of a device like this headset. Otherwise none of its amazing features or technologies will be enough to convince people that they need one.
What about you? What would convince you to buy Apple’s mixed reality headset? Let us know in the comments section below.
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