"While everyone has been yawning over the last few new phones, Cook has quietly created arguably the tech industry’s biggest success story of the past decade."
From Max Chafkin's "The Sneaky Genius of Apple’s AirPods Empire" posted Thursday by Bloomberg Businessweek:
Sometime next year, Tim Cook will appear before the Apple Inc. faithful and unveil the company’s next major computing platform, a headset that mixes virtual reality and augmented reality. Its code name is N301, though trademark filings suggest its real name may be the Apple Reality Pro. Those filings, and the early word, hint that the device’s components will probably blow away the VR headsets made by Facebook, Sony, and HTC. Apple’s version of VR seems likely to look better, run faster, and feature more immersive graphics. It’s also almost guaranteed to be a letdown, at least at first.
Apple has been working on its headset for seven years, and the project now has about 2,000 employees, including the guy who was previously running VR development for NASA. Today’s VR market, however, is still minuscule by Apple standards. Facebook, which renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc. as part of an expression of its commitment to the metaverse, as VR is sometimes described, accounted for almost 80% of headsets sold last year, according to market research firm IDC. The entirety of that business represents a little more than 0.5% of Apple’s overall revenue, which sounds less like a fundamental strategic shift and more like what the company makes selling fancy iPhone cases.
Ten years after the failure of Google Glass, Apple’s headset will have to prove itself to become a mainstream hit. That makes the Reality Pro a tempting target for anybody who wants to opine that the company has lost its way. We know this because similar declarations have met pretty much every move Cook has made in the 11 years since Steve Jobs died.
My take: Chafkin is taking a lot for granted here.