When Apple introduced the Macintosh, it sparked a revolution in personal computing. With its groundbreaking GUI, it shifted the industry’s direction and set the standard for how we interact with computers today. Years later, the iPhone repeated this feat in the mobile market, leaving its predecessors in the dust and fundamentally transforming our digital lives.
Now, Apple is poised to enter the extended reality (XR) arena, a space ripe for disruption and innovation. Their rumored XR headset, potentially named Apple Reality or RealityPro, is generating a buzz reminiscent of their past groundbreaking products. This device, powered by the rumored realityOS or xrOS, is expected to capitalize on Apple’s ability to integrate hardware and software seamlessly in a well-designed package, a trait that has been the hallmark of their success.
While we see more similarities between the XR adoption cycle and the uptake of personal computers rather than smartphones, the potential impact of Apple’s entry into this space is massive. The XR technology’s core value proposition is remarkably compelling: it offers the ability to bring any 3D object, interface, or world into our space, or to augment our environment with key information. It’s not just about overlaying digital information onto the real world; it’s about fundamentally changing the way we interact with digital content, much like what the Mac and iPhone did in their respective eras.
Apple has a reputation for crafting operating systems that maximize the potential of their devices. The rumored xrOS or realityOS, like its siblings (macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS), is expected to be highly specialized, capitalizing on every ounce of potential performance its hardware has to offer. This new OS could be the key to unlocking the full potential of XR, setting a new standard for efficiency and performance in the space.
The prospect of spatial FaceTime is truly exciting. This technology could introduce an entirely new level of immersion and interactivity in digital communication, providing users with a sense of presence that 2D video calls simply can’t match. One of the most compelling experiences in XR today is Meta’s Workrooms. The cartoon nature of the avatars quickly fades and what you’re left with is a very real sense of presence. If Apple delivers on an experience with significantly less friction moving in and out of meetings than current market offerings, we feel strongly that this will be one of the device’s killer apps.
The Apple Reality device is also expected to include a freeform collaboration app, allowing teams to brainstorm and generate ideas in an immersive environment. This could revolutionize the way we work, making remote collaboration more engaging and effective.
The integration of native work apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, along with spatially adapted iPad apps like Messages, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Music, News, Stocks, and Weather, could make Apple’s XR device an indispensable tool for both work and leisure.
Imagine an immersive Apple TV experience that brings movies and shows to life around you, or an Apple Fitness+ workout where the instructor appears right in your living room. These are just a few examples of how Apple’s entry into the XR space could redefine entertainment and fitness.
Apple’s developer tools have always been a key part of their ecosystem, and we expect no less for their XR device. These tools will enable a vast ecosystem of app and experience creation, much like the App Store did for iOS once released. And let’s not forget about Apple’s design prowess. We anticipate a highly usable, sleek form factor with careful material selections that are both stylish and comfortable.
Unlike existing devices like the Meta Quest 2, which takes a few minutes to start up and launch experiences, we expect the Apple Reality device to offer real multitasking and quick start-up times. This alone could exponentially increase the potential of XR devices to seamlessly integrate into our daily workflows.
Just as the Mac and iPhone reshaped their respective domains, Apple’s entry into the XR space could be another game-changing moment. While the XR adoption cycle might be longer, the potential benefits are undeniable. As we await the arrival of Apple’s XR device, one thing is clear: the future of computing is on the horizon, it’s more immersive than ever before, and it provides new opportunities for disrupting current workflows, reducing risks and costs and providing fertile ground for new concepts and businesses.