In his most recent Power On column, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote that the conflict between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Meta/Facebook is less over privacy issues and more over watches, devices and augmented reality.
By changing its name to Meta Platforms, Facebook hoped to accomplish two things in relation to Apple: first, deflect the drumbeat of coverage of Facebook’s handling of user data, and second, give itself a chance to define for an entire industry exactly what “metaverse” means. Apple, of course, can’t just let that happen.
According to a report at Investors’ Business Daily (IBD), a new note to clients from Morgan Stanley claims that “Apple’s entry into the eyewear market will be the game changer for all participants as the technology gets normalized and popularized.” IBD noted that Morgan Stanley’s analysts also claim that Apple is “likely to leapfrog” Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Meta/Facebook when Apple releases its augmented reality (AR) glasses. The analysts wrote:
The enormity of the technical challenge — compressing daylong battery, 5G, compute, cameras, lidar, projectors and wave guide lenses into a lightweight, attractive pair of glasses — is hard to overstate. But we are approaching liftoff.
For its part, Meta/Facebook recently previewed a mixed reality headset that mixes both AR and virtual reality (VR), adding full-color AR overlays to VR. Bloomberg’s Gurman sees this headset coming out next year with Apple’s more expensive headset coming out “within a few months” of the Meta/Facebook device.
Apple’s advantage may be its brand reputation for delivering more than consumers expect. Citing a Harris poll from June, IBD noted that Apple was the “preferred choice of 35% of respondents” for AR and VR devices. The also-rans included Google, Samsung, Amazon and Facebook.
Meanwhile, at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, a government official who was instrumental in developing the country’s law designed to stop forcing app developers to sell their products only through the App Store or Google Play, said neither of the companies is doing enough to comply with the law, which took effect in September.
The government plans to release Wednesday “initial details of what it takes to comply with the law,” according to Reuters. Apple claims it is already in compliance with the law, and Google said it will allow third-party payment systems soon.
At the same conference, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said his company is working to create an app store system that would make it possible for people “to buy software in one place, knowing that they’d have it on all devices and platforms.”
At the end of next year, Apple intends to shut down the Dark Sky local weather app it acquired in March of 2020. The company has issued an update to the app, which is sold through the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Many of the app’s features have been added to the built-in Weather app for Apple’s devices.