Mixed Reality (MR) is a technology that combines Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), allowing users to interact with real-world objects in a virtual world. Apple has been rumoured to be working on its own MR headset, which is expected to be released at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023. This headset would be a major step for Apple into the post-iPhone era and would be its new major product category.
However, according to a new study by Piper Sandler, young users are not interested in AR / VR technology. The study surveyed 5,600 teens and found that 29% of them owned VR devices, but only 4% used them daily and only 14% used them weekly. Moreover, only 7% of teens said they planned to buy a new headset, and 52% were unsure or uninterested. This suggests that those teens who already own VR devices are not satisfied, and those who haven’t are less interested in trying them.
This could mean a challenge for Apple and other MR manufacturers: how to find compelling use cases to drive widespread user purchase. For now, MR technology is in the “early stages” and has yet to show its true potential.
Apple’s competitor Meta (formerly Facebook) is in trouble. The company lost $13.7 billion in 2022 and lowered the price of its Quest 2 and Pro VR headsets in early 2023. Apple, on the other hand, is expected to price its first MR headset at around $3,000 (currently about RMB 20,640), much higher than other products on the market. However, Apple doesn’t seem to be targeting the average consumer, but rather developers and professionals as its main customer base. This may help it build appealing usage scenarios, but it will also require more time and effort.