Renowned AR/VR tech evangelist and blogger Robert Scoble has doubled down on the rumor that Apple Inc. is planning to announce an AR headset sometime in the middle of 2017.
We could see the company partner with lens maker Carl Zeiss to create digital smart glasses and ship them out sometime after that, most likely in 2018, if what Scoble says is true. Scoble says his sources are situated “at the highest levels”, so this could well be true.
So far, Apple has done little in the VR space, which is why not a lot of VR/AR headsets are compatible with your iPhone or other Apple devices. There are a few, like Bridge, for example, but the list is extremely short when your compare it with the slew of Windows-supported hardware for virtual reality.
Back in July 2016, during an earnings call, Tim Cook did confirm that the company was investing in AR, calling it a “great commercial opportunity.”
That’s very true considering the premium positioning of its gadgets. If someone can afford a $700 iPhone, they’re more likely to invest in AR hardware from the same company. So, it’s actually a logical conclusion that this holds solid monetization potential for the Cupertino devices giant.
What the company needs right now is something to offset its heavy dependence on iPhone sales every year. The company’s services segment, which includes Apple Pay, Apple Music, iTunes and so on isn’t big enough to do that.
It will be, some day, but not yet. That means Apple needs something within the next year to two years to help them prepare for the slowdown in iPhone sales growth – a phenomenon that’s already started, with iPhone sales growing a mere 5% from holiday quarter to holiday quarter.
So as it stands, AR is still very much on the table for Apple to pick up and sink its teeth into. We don’t really know why it’s taken this long for Apple to adopt what is obviously a high-potential market. Maybe they wanted to see what everyone else had before getting into the space, we don’t know.
But there’s one thing we do know, and it’s that Apple cannot afford to sit back and enjoy its iPhone’s sales performance in the premium smartphone segment – not with Samsung, Google and, soon, even Microsoft breathing down its neck. Apple needs to do something big and disruptive, and it has to be in the next two years.
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