Home Tech News 15 years after the premiere of the iPhone, Apple begins to put...

15 years after the premiere of the iPhone, Apple begins to put together the pieces of its next great project to revolutionize the industry

Apple's ARKit 2 helps developers build augmented reality apps and games
Apple’s ARKit 2 helps developers build augmented reality apps and games

Nearly 15 years after the iPhone sparked the smartphone revolution, Apple is putting together the pieces of what it hopes will be its next industry-changing device: a headset that blends the digital world with the real world.

The company has enlisted Hollywood directors like Jon Favreau to develop video content for a headset expected to hit the market next year, according to three people familiar with that project. Favreau, executive producer of “Prehistoric Planet” on Apple TV+, is working to bring the dinosaurs from that series to life on headphones, which They look like a pair of ski goggles and are intended to offer virtual and augmented reality experiences.these people pointed out.

Separately, at its annual developer conference on Monday, Apple plans to unveil software tools that would allow apps to add new camera and voice features, laying the groundwork for a hands-free interface that users can navigate through on the headsetaccording to two people familiar with the project and the documents it reviewed New York Times.

An Apple spokeswoman, Trudy Muller, declined to comment on future projects. A spokesman for Favreau was unable to comment.

The headset project will bring Apple into an emerging competition to define the future of mixed reality. Microsoft, Google, and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, are at various stages of software and hardware development to create environments in which 3D digital images and the physical world coexist.

Last year, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped the name Facebook as a name for his company and vowed to spawn a concept known as the metaverse, in which the worlds of the internet, the virtual, and the real converge in a new universe. He and others believe it could become the next wave of computing, succeeding the smartphone era dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android software, just as those platforms followed decades of Windows and Macintosh. .

“That’s the next frontier,” said Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst at Creative Strategies, a technology research firm. “For Apple, it’s about a new computing experience and an opportunity to engage consumers with a device and new experiences that build on what they’ve done with content.”.

Mixed reality work is expected to be overshadowed during Monday’s Apple conference, which will largely be devoted to the company’s existing software systems. Apple may also announce a redesigned MacBook Air with thinner bezels around its screen than current models and upgraded processors, according to analysts.

Apple’s development of virtual reality software content and tools is critical to creating experiences that make sense of its future headsets. Its big new product, the Apple Watch, launched with nearly 3,000 apps, but struggled to catch on because tech critics said few of those apps were useful. Meta’s Quest virtual reality headset, which topped 10 million sales last year, has suffered similar shortcomings because many consider it a gaming device.

From its original Macintosh to its iPad, Apple has sought out products that appeal to a wide swath of potential customers and have a wide variety of uses. It is estimated that it sold 240 million iPhones last year, which is about half of its $366 billion in total sales. For the headset to be worthwhile, analysts say, it will have to have features that transcend the niche of the gaming world.

Presentation of the first iPhone, in June 2007
Presentation of the first iPhone, in June 2007

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been talking about the potential of augmented reality for years. In 2016, he assured investors that the company was investing heavily in it and considered it a “great business opportunity.” Back then, many employees on Apple’s campus were reading “Ready Player One,” a futuristic novel about virtual reality, and talking about the possibilities of creating Apple’s mixed reality world.

Apple hired an engineer from Dolby Technologies, Mike Rockwell, and tasked him with leading the initiative. His early efforts to create an augmented reality product were hampered by poor processing power, two people familiar with the project revealed. Ongoing problems with battery power have forced Apple to postpone its launch until next year, those people said.

The augmented reality initiative has caused divisions within Apple. At least two members of its industrial design team stated that they had left the company, in part, because they had some concerns about developing a product that could change the way people interact with each other. These sensitivities have increased within the company amid growing public concern about children’s screen time.

With Rockwell at the helm, the product would be one of the first to come out of Apple led by its engineering team and not its co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, and its former chief designer, Jony Ive, who left the company in 2019. The Apple Watch project was led by Ive and his designers, who defined its look, function, and marketing.

Favreau programming shows how Apple is trying to differentiate its product from the one proposed by Meta. It also illustrates how the company is building on the relationships it has cultivated in Hollywood since launching Apple TV+ in 2019.

Jon Favreau (AP)
Jon Favreau (AP)

Incredible headphones could give you a better experience than an 80-inch TVsaid Matt Miesnieks, CEO of LivingCities.xyz, a startup working on metaverse technology.

Apple’s software tools extend a years-long push to encourage developers to create augmented reality apps. The company greenlit that initiative in 2017 with ARKit, which allowed developers to use the iPhone’s camera and motion sensors to place digital objects in the real world and let people interact with them.

However, about 70 percent of Apple developers said they don’t use the tool, according to a Creative Strategies survey of more than 500 developers.

A set of tools Apple will introduce at the conference gives software developers new capabilities to trigger shortcuts within their apps using Siri and QR codes, interactions that will be leveraged in future headphones, a person familiar with the project said.

© The New York Times 2022

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