Apple VR will be Apple's next big thing — even without Jobs' reality-distorting magic

A render of the Apple VR headset next to a neon Apple logo
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo (edited))

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. 

Calling all Mac fans

Digital issue covers for MacLife magazine

(Image credit: Future)

This article originally appeared in Mac|Life magazine. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on all the latest news, tips, guides and more for all things iPhone, MacBook, iPads and more, check out the latest subscription deals. Subscribe to the digital edition today from only $1.16 per issue!

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.

Apple Reality Pro concept in yellow

(Image credit: ahmadcheni31)

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.

Graham Barlow
Group Editor in Chief, Tech

Graham is the Editor in Chief for all of Future’s tech magazines, including Mac|Life, MaximumPC, MacFormat, PC Pro, Linux Format and Computeractive. Graham has over 25 years of experience writing about technology and has covered many of the big Apple launches first hand including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Music. He first became fascinated with computing during the home computer boom of the 1980s, during which he wrote a text adventure game that was released commercially while still at school. After graduating university with a degree in Computer Science, Graham started as a writer on Future’s PC magazines eventually becoming editor of MacFormat in 2004 then Editor in Chief across the whole of Future’s tech magazine portfolio in 2013.These days Graham enjoys writing about the latest Apple tech for as well as Future’s tech magazine brands.