Apple's MR device will determine Cook's place in company history

Joanna Gao, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

Apple is expected to unveil its mixed reality (MR) device at the WWDC in June, the company's first brand-new product since the launch of the Apple Watch back in 2015. Sources believe this may be Tim Cook's last major move for his tenure as Apple CEO, and its success will determine Cook's place in company history.

Reports from Bloomberg pointed out that to Apple, the MR device not only signifies the "post-iPhone era" but is also the final report card for Cook's tenure as CEO. To competitors, Apple's entry may also inject new life into the market.

According to recent reports, the industry appears to be relatively pessimistic regarding Apple's MR device. Apple not only has to solve the issue of market demand, but the comfort of wearing the MR device itself, the battery duration, and the ecosystem are also all points of discussion. The overall user experience is unknown.

Despite that, the MR device still has a chance to bring a new look to the current market. After all, it's clear that both MR and the metaverse have yet to fully showcase their potential.

Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson pointed out that Apple won't enter a market before it's ready. Exploring a new market is difficult, but this is something Apple's very good at. We shouldn't underestimate Apple's ability to promote a product to the general consumer market. Magic Leap previously also raised US$3.5 billion to build an MR device for the consumer market. However, it later shifted to focus on the corporate market.

Similarly, Microsoft's HoloLens also started as a product for gaming and consumer applications but has since shifted its business to focusing on corporate applications as well.

When Meta changed to its current name in 2021, it hoped that its Quest product can become people's entry portal to the metaverse. Although the Quest series has sold relatively well, very few would consider Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse to be a successful venture so far.

At the moment, each company seems to be having its difficulties. Those within Apple are also rumored to be relatively conservative, with senior management and employees not expecting the MR device to be a massive hit immediately upon hitting the market. According to Bloomberg, Apple originally expected to ship 3 million units in the first year, but later lowered that number to 1 million and then to 900,000 units.

Sources believe that Apple's MR device has a chance to have a similar development path as the Apple Watch. This means it will find its own killer application after some time on the market. Then, it will gradually be accepted by the market and later launch a more affordable version or a version with different specifications.