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Apple’s new headset a high-tech tipping point?

May 12, 2023

Coming tech will transform ‘reality’ as we know it

Swirling rumors within the tech world suggest Apple may be preparing to unveil its long-anticipated headset — which is expected to deliver both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities — at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

If true, the headset would not merely join other AR/VR headsets already on the market, including the PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 2. Rather, Apple’s foray into AR/VR tech is poised to transform the entire digital marketplace.

Why this unveiling matters

Each release of a new Apple product tends to reshape the digital landscape forever. Consider the precedents: The iPad and iPhone ushered in an era of mobile apps that completely transformed the ways we shop, access information and entertainment and interact and do business with others.

Even when it’s not the first to unveil new digital tech, Apple nonetheless tends to overtake and dominate each tech niche it enters. Case in point: smart watches. Despite following Android versions to the marketplace, the Apple Watch promptly became the world’s “best-selling wearable” upon its 2015 release, and it has led the market in sales and revenue since. One could argue, persuasively, that widespread adoption of smart watches occurred only because Apple entered that niche.

Apple’s entry into the AR/VR market is likely to be equally — if not more — revolutionary.

Widespread adoption coming

Reports suggest current VR market leader Meta has sold roughly 20 million Quest headsets to date worldwide. That number sounds respectable, and it is — especially for the initial phase of new tech adoption. But the truth is, most consumers have not yet explored AR/VR experiences, nor have they yet been tempted to.

Yet with its reputation for producing well-engineered, cleverly designed tech that is both cool and easy to use — not to mention its built-in customer base of 1.5 billion iPhone users worldwide — Apple is uniquely equipped to bring AR/VR to the mainstream.

Once it does hit the market, Apple’s new headset will undoubtedly be buoyed by slick marketing and enviable buzz. As the noise around the new headset grows, even hesitant tech adopters will likely be enticed to trek to their nearest Apple store to finally try out the new AR/VR trend.

And because current reports suggest the new headset will run all of Apple’s existing ecosystem of apps, current Apple customers will likely be quick to adopt the new tech — just as they did with the Apple Watch.

The takeaway here is simple: Apple’s entry into the market is likely to be the AR/VR usage tipping point everyone’s been waiting for.

It’s time to rethink your business take on ‘reality’

From a business standpoint, the implications of Apple’s impending headset release are clear. If you’re still thinking of AR/VR only as a gamers’ play space or a zone for nebulous marketing gimmicks, it’s time to reframe your perspective.

But first, a few definitions. It’s important to note that VR and AR are actually quite distinct:

  • Virtual reality lets users enter a fully immersive environment that does not necessarily interface with the real world.
  • Augmented reality offers tools and tech that lets users interact with their real physical environments in new or expanded ways.

Available intel suggests users of Apple’s new headset will be able to rotate between AR and VR experiences with the simple flick of a dial.

To stay ahead of the curve, businesses should be strategically thinking about how they want to engage with existing and potential clients in these new, mixed reality realms. The time is now for ideation, planning and initial tech development.

As soon as the Apple headset becomes available to consumers — likely sometime next year — we’ll begin to see innovation-focused businesses more aggressively experiment with AR and VR possibilities. These include everything from internal, augmented reality staff trainings and logistical process enhancements to external, virtual reality-fueled customer engagement and retention strategies.

When this happens, it won’t take long for both corporate and private sectors to realize just how vast the opportunities for mixed reality actually are.

The timing here is everything. For businesses in every industry, it’s critical not to wait too late to jump on board.

The companies that are going to win in this space are the ones who sit down now and think about what is possible in AR/VR — and how those possibilities align with, or even reshape, their firm’s goals for the future.

How Wipfli can help

Interested in learning more about how your company can use AR or VR to streamline your work processes or better engage with your clients? Our digital services professionals can help you harness the potential of the exciting, new, mixed reality realm. Learn more about our digital services. 


Billy Collins
Senior Manager
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