Apple rejects the Metaverse: Marketing ploy or mistake?

metaverse

We look into the possible reasons why the tech giant Apple would refuse to be involved in the Metaverse.

For the last while, the most important word in the tech world has been metaverse, the virtual world that Facebook has sunk billions into developing and hired over 10,000 staff members to create. With all the hype on this subject, it came as no surprise that companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google were pushing to develop hardware and software aimed to be Metaverse compatible, such as VR headsets and smart glasses.

While Samsung moves forward with its Metaverse immersion announcing at CES their custom metaverse experience 837X to be debuted in Decentraland, Apple has turned its back on the idea of the metaverse completely. Their VR headsets will reportedly be aimed at shorter activity sessions, not for leaving behind the real world for virtual reality.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, specialist in all things Apple-related, commented in his newsletter ‘Power On’ that he has “been told pretty directly that the idea of a completely virtual world where users can escape to — like they can in Meta Platforms/Facebook’s vision of the future — is off-limits from Apple.” This leaves us wondering why Apple has suddenly rejected the platform, instead looking to aim their headset towards “bursts of gaming, communication, and content consumption.”

This could suggest that Apple does not think that the Metaverse will succeed in the future and so has distanced itself from the venture. However, it seems more likely that CEO Tim Cooks weighed up the financial risk factors in the investment and chose against it. This is a direct contrast to the legacy left by the famous Steve Jobs, who would take every chance to be innovative rather than concentrate on profit margins and risk.

This is not the first time Apple has been in the headlines for decisions that seem to be related to gaining profit rather than customer experience. An excellent example of this was the removal of chargers and headphones from Apple phone releases forcing customers to pay extra for Air pods and a USB plug. Although their marketing staff has been very good at putting a ‘sustainability spin’ on these decisions stating they were made to make the product and packaging more environmentally friendly.

If there is one thing tech companies have learned looking at the history of development in this area, it’s that if you don’t keep up with modern advancements in tech, then you will be left behind. This was made clear when the tech giant, Blackberry, was forced to liquidate due to its stock not selling. As the mobile phone marketplace evolved, Blackberry could not keep up with the changes, making their easily recognizable keypad layout obsolete.

It would be an apparent mistake to avoid the progression in this area altogether though this could be a clever marketing ploy by Apple, known for its exclusive Apple-only marketplace. If they remained independent and launched their version of a digital world or VR experience, this move could gain them excellent exposure in advance of an announcement. They have definitely caught the media’s attention with this announcement as no other tech company has rejected the virtual marketplace.

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However, the idea that Apple will realistically release its own virtual landscape does not seem likely, as some rumors would have been leaked by this point that Apple were developing more than just the headset. Unless Apple officials come forward with a statement on the reasons behind this decision, it is unlikely we will find out the motives any time soon.

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Erin Laurenson

Multimedia Content Producer for TBTech

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