As we approach the highly anticipated unveiling of Apple’s XR device next week, it is essential to consider elements that go beyond mere hardware specifications. Even with all its wealth and influence, Apple cannot defy the laws of physics. Consequently, it is probable that they will introduce a hardware piece that will be similar to the Meta Quest Pro or the HTC Vive Elite XR. On paper, the hardware specifications may not surpass those of other manufacturers and might even be weaker in certain aspects.
But Apple has always been known for its emphasis on deep integration between hardware and software, and this philosophy is likely to continue with the launch of their new XR device. This the one area we expect Apple to outshine the competition. So, we put together a list of positive effects this deep integration could potentially bring forward:
- Ecosystem: It is expected that all Apple devices will play together nicely. With handoff and continuity, you could pick up right where you left off in an App on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or even Apple Watch. Screenshots and video recordings of the experiences could be sent to other devices via AirDrop. And with iCloud Sync, the captured content is automatically available on other Apple-ID connected computers. With built in iMessage functionality, users have immediate and easy access to communication channels with their friends and family.
- Content and Services: Apple has a strong track record of curating high-quality content and making it easily available through stores and platforms. They will make accessing games, virtual events, 3D-movies, and spatial music experiences frictionless, enabling the adoption of regular XR experiences by a wider audience. And if additional payment is required for certain content, Apple is in the comfortable position that most users already have their billing information stored just one click away.
- Input & Control: Virtual Keyboards are a hassle no matter how well implemented they are. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just bring the device close to your Mac or iPhone for pairing, just like the AirPods? And once connected, wouldn’t it be practical to have a Universal Clipboard between all the devices? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to extend the screen real estate of the Mac with virtual windows floating around the workspace?
- Sharing: A problem with the current generation of XR devices is, that is it impossible to “look over another person’s shoulder”, since the screens are so close to the face. With this limitation, XR experiences are inherently solo affairs. Apple has introduced two technologies that make it easy to let other people to get involved: With AirPlay, you can stream the experience to an Apple TV. And with SharePlay capabilities, remote participants can join in with any iMessage-enabled device and interact with the person wearing the headset.
- Health: Fitness apps are very popular in the XR consumer space. If the device collects health data during use, it will be integrated seamlessly into the user’s database. This will make it even more fun to fill up the rings. Additionally, Apple’s focus on privacy and security could appeal to users concerned about data protection in the XR space.
- Aesthetics and Haptics: Apple is renowned for its industrial design, and they may apply their expertise to create an appealing XR device. The hardware could feature a sleek and minimalist “all aluminum and all glass” design. Apple will try to take the haptic experience to the next level with top quality materials and fabrication. While the competition will continue to work with nice looking but ultimately cheap feeling poly-carbonate cases.
- Developer Tools: Apple has a history of providing robust developer tools, such as ARKit. They may offer similar tools and frameworks for XR development, enabling experienced developers to create immersive experiences, with little adaptation efforts needed.
What will Apple do better than the competition?
- Interoperability between devices, easy access to interesting content and Apple’s typical eye for detail will reduce friction currently felt on other XR platforms. This will probably help adoption of Extended Reality technologies in a broad segment of the population.
- Apple will provide several experiences from day one, which are optimally linked with their other product and services, and which will “just work”, in the well-established Apple style. This could shape the whole consumer XR space and influence the offerings of the competition for years to come.
It’s important to note that these are speculative points, and the actual differentiating factors of Apple’s XR device will be revealed during the World Wide Developers Conference in June 2023.
Augment IT is well equipped for this new device about to be let loose on the XR scene: In our diversified team we have a dedicated development group that is very familiar with all aspects of the Apple world and can implement customized apps for your needs without any difficulties.
If you want to discuss how your business processes can be applied to the coming xrOS platform, you can firstname.lastname@example.org