Currently, as we continue to learn, speak on, and build on the metaverse one of the biggest proponents of the space has been Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO rebranded his company, changed the name, and put all of his resources towards creating a metaverse project that he believes will be the future of the internet.
Meta is not the only company interested in the “new internet” as Microsoft has recently joined ranks with Meta and offered versions of its “Teams” and “ Office 365” to be used with the new and truly expensive Meta Quest Pro.
As we watch other companies get into web3 and the metaverse one company has stayed mostly silent on that front- Apple. There are rumors that Apple will eventually join the rest of the major tech companies as they push for meta-world domination by introducing a headset with a high price of entry. The company has always been known for doing things its own way, using the “Think Different” slogan as a way of creating and staying ahead of the competition. The question remains with so many other tech companies having a head start will Apple even be able to gain the same lead they currently have in the web2 space?
Apple and metaverse tech
Apple has been a proponent of AR technology for some time now implementing the tech into almost all of its phones and tablets. The ambitions of Apple and AR have been watched by those in tech media for years now as the company has put tons of effort into the tech since 2015. There have been reports of Apple working on a mixed-reality headset that will be very high-end. The headset is rumored to be both VR and AR capable but as of yet there are no concrete specs on the product.
What is known about the headset is it will not be cheap, or remotely affordable for the average customer even. The headset is rumored to be set for 2023 and will come with a price tag upwards of $3000, this is much higher than the Meta Quest Pro which is already being called costly at $1500 which at the moment seems to have the same ability as the rumored apple device.
Questions are arising about the specs and chipset being used for the Apple headset. The company usually introduces new technology and new chips with every new iteration of their laptops, cellphones, or tablets with each new iteration of the other getting a chipset that isn’t available on other devices offered by the same company. Currently, the chips in the Mac Studio are the strongest with the M1 Max and M1 Ultra being the offerings. The question would be if the company plans to introduce a new M2 chip with the technology or if there is something else made specifically for the headset like the bionic chips for their phones.
Apple and the metaverse
Of course, headsets are not all that can be used to create and build on the metaverse, there is of course other technology such as NFT, gaming, and more. As more metaverse platforms arise there will be more games, more NFTs, more DeFi projects, more DAOs, and such. What would Apple have to say about that? To date, Apple has a non-friendly approach to in-app NFT sales and the company does not allow for any direct NFT sales or apps on the iPhone.
Tim Cook thinks AR is the more profound technology that will eventually lead to the growth of the internet and not necessarily the metaverse itself and has joined other CEOs such as Evan Spiegal of Snap (Snapchat) in calling the idea “ambiguous and hypothetical.” Tim Cook believes in AR and headsets that feature both AR and VR may be the wave that is needed to see the ideals of the metaverse grow. These headsets can amplify immersion and naturally capture the nuances of interactions with the world and the users. Mr. Cook has gone on to say that he is not sure the average person even knows what the metaverse is and so using that terminology is not good for him.
Apple has not yet come out and said they are developing anything that would facilitate the use of this technology better, but it would go without saying that a company such as Apple would want to have the software to go with the hardware. Apple is a company that is known for creating tech with seamlessly integrated software. An Apple RealityOS or VROS could be created to better integrate the plans of the company and aid in world-building in the Apple ecosystem.
Apple and web3
The main tenements of web3 are decentralization and ownership. Most in the space want to see a metaverse that is decentralized, open-source, on the blockchain, uses NFTs to represent ownership and is interoperable. There has been a major concern that web2 giants will be the major driving force of the new internet as their methodologies are not in sync with the ideals of the web3 community.
Mark Zuckerberg has recently stated he believes in an interoperable metaverse that is built by many developers on many different fronts. This wasn’t an explicit statement that all web3 tech would ve embraced by Meta but the tonal shift by Zuckerberg is indeed welcome. All eyes are not on Apple to see if they are going to follow suit.
Apple is notoriously anti-open, instead preferring to be the biggest proponent of a “walled garden” closed system. Everything in the Apple environment is locked down including iOS and the Apple Store which takes a very large chunk of the sales developers to make.
There have been moves made by apple that can be seen as anti-web3 especially the 30% cut from all in-app NFT sales but Tim Cook has expressed an interest in crypto before and has stated that he owns crypto.
Even with all of this, it is not clear where Apple will be in the future when the metaverse is fully developed, even if it comes with a new moniker or methodology. There could be an Apple metaverse more closed off and Apple-centric, an “Appleverse” if you will. Whatever the future holds it is clear that both Apple and Meta are having a difference of opinion on what the metaverse could and should be