The New York Times: ‘At Apple, Rare Dissent Over a New Product: Interactive Goggles’

Tripp Mickle and Brian X. Chen, reporting for The New York Times:

The headset looks like ski goggles. It features a carbon fiber frame, a hip pack with battery support, outward cameras to capture the real world and two 4K displays that can render everything from applications to movies, two of the people said. Users can turn a “reality dial” on the device to increase or decrease real-time video from the world around them. [...]

Because the headset won’t fit over glasses, the company has plans to sell prescription lenses for the displays to people who don’t wear contacts, a person familiar with the plan said.

This seems like an impediment to an impulse purchase, especially in the U.S., where corrective lenses require an up-to-date prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. And won’t this make it tricky to share a headset between multiple people? If it really costs $3,000, I suppose that’s the biggest impediment to an “impulse” purchase.

During the device’s development, Apple has focused on making it excel for videoconferencing and spending time with others as avatars in a virtual world. The company has called the device’s signature application “copresence,” a word designed to capture the experience of sharing a real or virtual space with someone in another place. It is akin to what Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, calls the “metaverse.”

The chicken-and-egg problem here is that everyone you’re “copresencing” with needs an Apple headset too.

The device will double as a tool for artists, designers and engineers, tracking them as they draw freely in space in image-editing applications and tracking hand gestures for the editing of virtual reality films. Lastly, it will function as a high-resolution TV with custom-made video content from Hollywood filmmakers such as Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man.

The key sentence in the story is this:

Some internal skeptics have questioned if the new device is a solution in search of a problem.

Sunday, 26 March 2023