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Apple's mixed reality ecosystem could focus on gaming, fitness, and streaming

The news: Apple is reportedly working with developers to create a supporting ecosystem and apps to accompany its headset.

Apple’s reality play: Apple has been working on its Reality Pro AR/VR headset for years, and despite pushback from some of its engineers, the device is likely to be revealed this June at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

While a lot of focus has been on the hardware and its capabilities, Apple is looking at the bigger picture and likely preparing a slew of apps and experiences to demo its technology.

  • It has reportedly been working with “a small number of developers” to optimize apps for the new product. 
  • The company has no shortage of options to pivot into AR/VR—it can expand Apple Fitness, FaceTime, iMessage, and Apple Arcade services into immersive experiences.
  • It can also extend the headset’s connectivity across other peripherals like Apple Watch and AirPods to ensure customer lock-in.
  • Apple’s investments in live sports like Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, as well as Apple TV streaming, also offer opportunities for VR.

More details on the Apple headset: A report from Bloomberg gives us some insights on Apple’s hardware and its unique features.

  • The headset will be able to shift from VR to AR using a Digital Crown, similar to one on the Apple Watch and AirPods Max.
  • Users can control the interface with eye and hand gestures.
  • Apple’s headset will also have an in-air virtual keyboard and support physical keyboards, although Apple’s Siri voice assistant will likely be on tap. 

The caveat: Building a case for a $3,000 headset—Reality Pro’s rumored cost—will be a monumental undertaking and a huge risk, even for a company with Apple’s track record.

  • With its collection of fitness, gaming, music, and streaming apps, Apple could easily surpass Meta’s offerings on its Meta Quest headsets.
  • High consumer trust in Apple’s brand and its focus on user privacy could pave the way.