What Apple’s First Mixed Reality Headset Will Mean for Enterprises

A recent article on Venture Beat details the journey that Mixed Reality technology has been on over the past five years. The reduction in size and cost of the devices, as well as general improvement of the technology, has led to success with both consumers and enterprises. However, enterprise adoption has been slower due to less use cases, high prices, and “DIY” software integration.

Apple’s MR headset development has been in the works for years, but plans are now at the forefront. The company will start by first deliberately releasing an expensive, niche headset to prepare the market and developers for future Augmented Reality glasses. The article explains how Apple’s approach is likely to play out:

  • Not just AR or VR: They will reportedly start with a primarily Virtual Reality headset, with limited Augmented Reality function, similar to Facebook’s Oculus Quest. Apple has consistently expressed that AR is the “bigger opportunity”, therefore the initial focus will most likely be on enterprise AR and VR applications.
  • Standalone: Rather than tethered, a standalone approach will be taken, meaning that MR will function as its own platform. Customised content and apps will be available, the goggles will have Mac-class processing power, and screens will be a much higher resolution than in current VR devices. This will enable enterprises to create immersive 3D experiences from desktop computer apps.
  • Timing of release: Bloomberg has suggested a 2022 launch of the MR goggles, followed by a lightweight AR glasses release in several years. Judging by this, Apple’s approach will then allow developers a year or two to test MR hardware apps.

The article encourages companies to consider what to put in place to allow for MR integration, including:

  • Cost: Various price points include $2000, $1000, and $500. This will differ depending on whether the business uses a couple of headsets, or deploys them across their entire workforce.
  • Data visualisation: Presentations, existing 2D data, and immersive 3D key apps will need a visualisation strategy.
  • Employee experience: Preparations must be put in place to either hire or train employees with MR experience.
  • The customer’s role: Enriching the customer experience, and setting customer expectations for the technology.

Concluding, the article acknowledges that there may currently be more questions than answers regarding MR integration. There is still plenty of time for companies to develop a digital transformation strategy, but ideally they need to start now.

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