It’s quite a topic to talk about when it comes to VR headsets, especially if the product is from the famous company Apple itself. Why would Apple create a VR headset even though we are aware of the current market of VR headsets declining each day? Take a look at the idea of Metaverse in general; they’re formally known as Facebook.
After purchasing Instagram and WhatsApp, the idea of living in a virtual world (Metaverse) became more prominent as the developers pushed this idea forward, but the public seemed to have conflicting perceptions of this. But Apple proceeded to gamble with pushing the market of the virtual world. What is the idea behind this, and why should this be a concerning issue among us, apart from the $3,500 price range (roughly RM16,000 or the cost of a 2010 Myvi car)?
Apple Pushes VR to Accord with All the Other Apple Products
The idea of Apple’s VR Headset is that it is not an accessory of the main computer (iPhone or Mac), but instead, it serves as a computer of its own. Though I would say, every Apple product works insanely well with each other (iPhone with Apple Watch/Mac/iPad/etc). And now they’re developing their very own VR headset that will work just fine on its own, but the recent showcase of Apple’s VR headset shows its full potential of it by co-occurring with the other Apple products.
Famous tech reviewer, Marques Brownlee has mentioned one of Apple’s keynotes about Apple’s VR headset: the workspace on a Mac will seamlessly be mirrored on the VR headset just by looking at the screen as the user resume their work. Apple’s ecosystem has always been superior, and this is something worthy to be proud of while other VR headsets struggle with the concept still.
Meta (Facebook) has attempted to replicate the ecosystem by producing their model smartphone, but it flopped. When it comes to Android VR headsets, they always struggle with compatibility. The best they can offer is Samsung Gear VR, which is only compatible with VR-enabled Samsung phones. Any other Android phones will, if not compatible, encounter errors with pairing or using the VR headset.
Apple products won’t have to worry about this.
The Quality Apple VR Headset Offers is Surprisingly Well
Sure, they deliver features on their products which Android would already have decades ago (slightly exaggerated there, but you get the point). But the VR headset Apple is trying to release here is surprisingly good. The extreme accuracy of the IR sensors (thanks to the five sensors and 12 cameras) on the Apple VR headset ensures that it tracks the user’s eye movements precisely as it could, as has already been proven to be true by Marques Brownlee himself, no matter how small the item of interest on the screen displayed on the headset is.
A nifty feature that the headset that no other VR headsets have done so far is the finger gestures that act as the controller. There is no need for a wireless remote control; users can scroll, click, and expand/minimise windows with only their fingers. Not to mention that there’s no need for them to lift their hands, too — Apple’s VR headset has cameras attached facing forward, sideways, and downwards to ensure it can keep track of the hand gestures performed by the users. It’s surprisingly accurate, too. Too accurate.
Why are People Against the Idea of a Virtual World?
Long story short, it’s a terrifying concept. Living in a world we don’t fully understand, can invite both excitement and pressure, depending on how people look at it. Right now, with the rapid development of technology, we can only assume the accelerated pace of work life increases just as rapidly. We have been introduced to the concept of working from home thanks to the pandemic that spread globally. Whilst this is convenient at best, it also invites instability to the work-life balance.
We are hounded by co-workers almost endlessly because of the assumption that we can work anywhere, anytime. Using a VR headset further escalates this. Try to think of having a virtual office in your very home, and bear in mind that virtual reality invites others into your workplace (in avatar form) to monitor and provide better collaboration.
Imagine micro-managers in your very home.
Having a virtual workspace is indeed beneficial, but the accessibility of the work project to work with co-workers at your very own home can be a terrifying concept, knowing that there are people who do know not of personal boundaries and work-life balance.
Privacy intrusion is a serious matter, too. The virtual world has been a concept for a while, and games are made based on it. Back then, we were familiar with Club Penguin, and now we have VRChat available to play. Privacy concerns have been issued whenever people (especially young children) venture into the virtual world to meet strangers, and depending on how reckless they can be, those strangers can easily track down their profiles, similar to social media.
That is if they track down your profile. Apple’s VR headset features users to be able to create avatars that copy pretty closely to their real selves, thanks to the sensors that track their eye movements, facial expressions, and gestures. Should this fall into the wrong hands, it could invite serious trouble (I’m referring to identity theft and impersonation).
Apple’s VR headset may be just the needed step for others to finally follow suit in the proper development of implementing virtual reality to co-exist with the real world. But for now, it is best to be very well aware of the benefits and risks of adopting virtual reality in our daily lives. We’re not used to the concept just yet; at least not the majority of the public.
I would say that it is in the best interest to follow with the development of this entire idea of virtual and augmented reality so that we know what to expect the moment the opportunity is given for us to finally immerse ourselves in it. Regardless, Apple has made quite a gamble to invest in such a delicate prospect opportunity, and all that is left is to see if it pays off.