I don’t know about you, but Apple's upcoming VR headset can’t arrive quickly enough for me. I was having a chat recently with a colleague who also works in the tech industry and we were trying to remember the last time we felt really excited about a new Apple product.
Now, I’m an Apple fanboy at heart, so I get giddy when Apple releases a new, speed-bumped, MacBook Pro (even if it looks exactly like the last one), but he couldn’t remember a time that an Apple release genuinely excited him. While I don’t necessarily agree with him, he does have a point; Apple has stopped releasing ground-breaking products that disrupt the market, like they used to back in the Steve Jobs era.
Every Apple press release used to say, “Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984”, at the bottom, because it was true! Apple was a company that changed the world. Then it did it again with the iMac in 1998 and yet again with the iPhone in 2007.
I think the problem is that the stakes are so high these days that Apple has become a little risk-averse. Apple has gone from being the young upstart in a tech market dominated by Microsoft and PC manufacturers, to being by far the biggest company in the space. Perhaps this is the inevitable price of success. Even the young, wild, 1970’s John Lydon of the Sex Pistols, turned into a failed Eurovision Song Contest entrant in 2023.
Game Changing VR
But Apple’s rumoured virtual reality headset could change all that. It could be a game-changing product if (and it’s a big if) Apple gets it right. Apple’s track record for big releases has been mixed of late. While the iPhone came out of the gates running at full pelt, the Apple Watch launch was more of a light jog. The original Apple Watch seemed a bit limited, and it took years to evolve into a ‘wow’ product, with the latest Apple Watch Ultra.
I don’t really care if Apple opts for a mix of virtual and augmented reality in its new product, or if it’s focussed on games or helping with daily life. All I want is to see something that makes me go ‘wow’ one more time, just like I went ‘wow’ when I first saw Steve Jobs zoom into the screen with a finger pinch on the original iPhone Safari browser.
Some might say that what we’re really missing is a Steve Jobs-like figure (with accompanying reality distortion field), to sell virtual reality to us for Apple’s next product to be a success. But I’d like to think that it was the brilliance of Apple’s products that has secured his legacy, not his charismatic way of selling them.
Let’s hope Apple doesn't fumble the ball when it comes to virtual reality, and concentrates on getting the product right because this really could be the next big thing.
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With over 25 years of experience in the technology sector Graham Barlow has written for, edited and worked on some of the best technology titles in both print and digital, like MacFormat, Mac|Life, MaximumPC and Linux Format.
He also writes for websites like TechRadar, Top10Reviews, T3.com and blogs about martial arts.