Mark Zuckerberg’s foray into the metaverse, embodied by renaming his social media giant Meta (NASDAQ: META), has not worked out, and the company recently laid off 11,000 employees. This has done little to put off Apple, and as new job listings reveal, the company is delving deeper into augmented and virtual realities—but don’t expect the iPhone maker to ever call it a “metaverse.”
Apple has been reported to be working on an augmented reality headset for over five years now. To date, nothing has come of the reports. However, new job listings by the tech giant this month point to the company accelerating its 3-D mixed reality efforts, including a foray into the metaverse.
This month, Apple has listed over 30 new virtual and augmented reality positions for engineers. One of these listings is for an AR/VR network engineer who will build frameworks and tools “to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed-reality world.”
This sounds a lot like the metaverse, a world that Zuckerberg has invested billions in conquering. However, this big bet has failed to pay off. In Q3, Reality Labs, Meta’s metaverse division, only brought in $285 million while accounting for $4 billion in expenses.
Despite all the metaverse hype, don’t expect Apple to ever use the term “metaverse” on its ‘3D mixed-reality world.’ CEO Tim Cook made it clear a month ago that Apple would stay clear of the term as it only confuses the users more. This is despite Zuckerberg telling his staff that Meta is in “deep, philosophical competition with Apple to build the metaverse.”
“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is. And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is,” he stated.
Cook is a big fan of AR, however.
“I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything. It’s something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. VR is for regular periods, but not a way to communicate well. So I’m not against it, but that’s how I look at it.”
It’s still unclear just how much of the metaverse Apple plans to explore. However, multiple reports indicate that it intends to release its headset in Q1 next year. Armed with its own operating system, RealityOS, and a dozen cameras, the new headset could launch Apple into the lead on the metaverse.
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