Report: Google isn't Apple's competitor, it's Meta — all thanks to AR/VR

Oculus (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google has historically been Apple's biggest competitor, but changes to the tech landscape will also change that, too.
  • Meta, formerly Facebook, is set to become Apple's biggest competitor according to a new report.
  • Both Meta and Apple are expected to compete in the world of AR/VR headsets.

Apple has long been considered to have a big competitor in Google, all thanks to the battle between iPhone and Android. That's old news now, however, with Meta — the artist formerly known as Facebook — set to become the company Apple does battle with the most.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, writing in his weekly Power On newsletter, Apple is on a collision course with Meta thanks to its impending entry into the world of AR/VR, or mixed reality, headsets. Facebook recently announced one of its very own, with Apple expected to get in on the act next year.

Last month, Meta previewed Project Cambria, its first true mixed reality headset. To date, Meta's headsets have focused on virtual reality, enveloping users completely in the digital world. That compares with augmented reality glasses, which overlay digital information on top of the real world. The Cambria headset mixes both, adding full-color AR overlay abilities to VR.

That's something we're told to expect from a rumored Apple headset, too. And while Apple's headset is likely to cost considerably more than the one carrying a Meta logo, they will functionally be very similar.

Gurman also points out that headsets are just the beginning, too. Meta, still irked by its failure to enter the phone market, intends to ensure it doesn't repeat that mistake with wearables — and has its own smartwatch in the works. That'll likely be a direct competitor to Apple's existing Apple Watch Series 7 — the best Apple Watch the company has ever made.

But that's just the beginning. While Apple is entering Meta territory for headsets, Meta plans to enter Apple's world of smartwatches. It's no secret that the Apple Watch—despite some early concerns—is the market leader in internet-connected watches. Now Meta wants a piece of the pie.

With Apple CEO Tim Cook having already taken shots at Meta and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, over the way the pair handle user data and privacy, we can only imagine how things will go down when cold hard money is on the line.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.