Apple Space Goggles
After years of intense speculation, Apple have finally announced their long awaited foray into AR/VR.
Apple Space Goggles®
Well they actually named them ‘Apple Vision Pro’, cos lawyers and nomenclature, but we will all know them as Apple Space Goggles®.
They sure are pretty. Look at them:
It’s like Marc Newson was asked to do a Dieter Rams for a Kubrick.
Straight out of a retro sci-fi movie, I like the design, It’s more ‘Oblivion’ than daft Star Wars sequels. It looks like MidJourney was asked to make a composite of all of the Apple products. It’s got the orange flourishes and the charging from the Apple Watch Ultra, the aluminium and speaker holes from the iPhone X, and the battery from a LaCie hard drive circa 2006. The rear headband is a bit ‘Back to the future‘ meets Yeezy. Love the fluting.
The bad stuff
Well the price is $3500. There no getting away from that. This is a niche product for rich people, so no amount of abstention from avocado on toast is going to get you a pair.
You will need to be an influencer or at least a Z list celebrity or have deep pockets to ride this train and advertise this prototype for Apple, while Apple get version 2 (the really decent one) out the door.
Golden Rule: Never buy a 1st gen Apple product
Every 1st generation Apple product is a bit shit. It’s classically over engineered so it absolutely wows people at the WWDC, and then they backfill the obvious oversights as being part of the vibe, whilst waiting for the component prices to drop and economies of scale to kick in.
Ok its not good news on the battery. It only lasts for 2 hours.
And its not even integrated into the headset.
It’s an external power bank, linked by a 1.5 metre cable to the headset. You have to wear it like a dreadful fashion accessory.
Ok so what if I don’t have pockets? (I promise I am not watching porn in my underwear)
Only a 2 hour battery life?
2 hours is 65% of a Scorsese movie. Even a basic Marvel flick is over 2.5 hours. Don’t worry tho, you can plug a USB3 cable in to the battery (power bank) and watch for as long as you like.
Slightly limits you to movement but whatevs. Its hardly portable, but as we progress its obvious this is a product strictly for the home.
Headset FaceTime is ridiculous
The issue with a headset is that you cant do a proper video call, as unlike when using a front facing camera on your phone, with a headset the other person cannot see your face.
Apple have tried to mitigate this by letting you do a full 3D scan of your face, and using cameras, sensors and machine learning to create a real time avatar of you. It then shows this as your representation on the call.
So now Ivan and Deborah are talking to a disturbing, uncanny valley deepfake of you.
This totally defeats the purpose of a video call. It’s negated every virtue of a face to face.
Also how does that work for proper personal, intimate moments?. How do you tell someone you don’t love them anymore, or that the dog got run over, whilst looking like an NPC in GTA6.
There is a reason that the other AR/VR goggles use plastic. It’s incredibly lightweight. Not Apple tho. Nope.
Industrial design is all about metal and glass, shiny expensive veneers, laser cut holes.
Trouble is, industrial design is HEAVY. After a couple of hours of wearing it you may feel some neck pain, and after 6 months your neck will seem thicker, the guys at the gym will compliment your swole neck.
And thats fine if you like a big neck.
It’s not great for porn
Ok let's address the (horny) elephant in the room. This thing is going to be *terrible* for pornography.
Why is this an issue?
Pornography and the sex industry are the deciding factors in any tech product. Remember VHS and BetaMax? VHS won because thats the format the porn companies favoured. Same with DVD. Blu-Ray is literally named after Blue movies (ok I made that one up)
The porn industry generates more income than the combined revenues of ABC, NBC, and CBS and more than the combined revenues of NFL, NBA, and MLB.
Approximately 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography.
25% of all internet searches are for porn.
It’s estimated to be worth $97 billion globally, with the United States alone generating between $12 and 14 billion in annual revenue.
VR/AR Pornography is the most lucrative industry for a VR/AR headset. It’s potential use cases are staggering. From satiating the carnal needs of the long distance relationship, to a safe and equitable entry into all kind of new sexual proclivities.
OnlyFans has proved that people are prepared to pay for premium content, proprietary hardware can deal with the copy protection and piracy issues which haunt traditional online porn. And deepfake and AI/machine learning technology, if used legally, can allow anyone to licence their likeness to be used for a 3d wank bank (apologies)
For 3500 bucks I want to be able to have sex with a hologram, like in Bladerunner 2049. Apple are well known for not allowing any kind of adult content into their walled garden of apps. And there is no haptic feedback so it’s purely visual/audible.
You will look like a twat
No amount of cool industrial design is going to save you from the absolute scenes when you don your Apple Goggles on a flight. You will look like a twat. Apple Vision Pro (Space Goggles®) are only really going to be a product that is socially acceptable within your own home.
Imagine wearing these on the train? Or at your desk at the office? You look like a cosplay Minority report.
Ok lets wrap this up
Spatial computing is amazing, it’s long overdue that the worlds biggest and best design & technology firm have thrown their hat into the ring, but it’s going to be a few more years before this is going to work at a mass market level.
When the first iPod came out, it was expensive, heavy and a bit daft, so take a breath and wait for the next 2 years. They’ll get it down to £999 and maybe Disney will make some adult content.
Thanks for reading!