June 4, 2023

"Apple has done this before. Eventual hits like the iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch started in niche markets that grew into big businesses."

"But even Apple executives have been skeptical about the company’s prospects in virtual reality, which, they say, may still not be ready for its mainstream moment. Apple declined to comment."

Since Apple declined to comment, the article is mostly about the massive shunning of Meta (the Facebook virtual reality product).

The comments at the NYT are things like: "No. No one cares. I will take ugly reality over happy fantasy every time."


Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

I imagine a virtual word is similar to a crack addiction, a meth addiction or a fentynol addiction ..coupled with a on-line gaming addiction.

We can hope it crashes and burns.
But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps a virtual world will help Iceland decrease travel.

n.n said...

A Green blight over land and sea. Go!

Reduced profits without labor and environmental arbitrage in a meta-verse. Stop! Think! Abort!

Original Mike said...

"the article is mostly about the massive shunning of Meta (the Facebook virtual reality product)."

Well, "immersive Facebook" sounds nauseating. However, I am curious about the Apple product.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

In marketing the most important questions need to be answered up front: What is the target market? Who is the customer? So what I’ve never understood about the metaverse is how many people really want to spend their time enveloped in a VR headset “living” a virtual life? In my experience as the internet matures consumers are tending towards very limited engagement. That’s why apps replaced Web sites as the point of contact and people appreciate the convenience of “one click ordering” (to choose one typical example) because they want to get what they need and get on with it. Are people really itching to immerse themselves in virtual shopping where the tactile experience is completely missing? I see that pool of potential customers shrinking as the internet economy matures not to mention the further isolation of people who do gravitate to virtual engagement over reality or convenience.

stlcdr said...

"just say No to VR"

(this message brought to you by those who get motion sickness just looking at a roller coaster).

Art in LA said...

Decades ago I worked on VR/AR projects, surgery simulation applications. I never enjoyed the claustrophobic feeling I get while experiencing VR -- using a headset, or in a "VR cave" setting). I definitely prefer augmented reality because I am still aware our my surroundings.

$3K for a headset? Sounds about right. Apple sells their 27" Studio Display for nearly $2K already. VR headset will feel bigger than 27". I have been thinking about upgrading my 27" iMac, but the current all-Apple hardware price point is very high. I hope they release an M2 chip iMac soon, save me a few bucks.

rhhardin said...

What was special about View Master was that you didn't get a headache. Since then it's been downhill.

BIII Zhang said...

"I will take ugly reality over happy fantasy every time."

Bold of her to assume she will be given that choice.

They're not building this for nothing. They're building it to put people into it involuntarily.

Imagine the cost-savings of placing someone into an AI-induced coma, propping these glasses onto them and allowing them to live in whatever world they desire. It would be the end of prisons as we know it. It would end the need to treat mental illness. Want to murder kids? Go for it, bro. All day long. In your AI world.

Everything in the future is going to boil down to Soylent Green, the Matrix, and Logan's Run.

rhhardin said...

Why has nobody done the orgasmatron (Sleeper 1973)

wild chicken said...

Now this is scary.

Apple eyed the old Walkman market and came up with ipod.

Then it was the cell phone/digital asst market to make iphone. Then improved on Kindle to make ipad. Then the fitness heart rate monitors to make Apple watch.

All existing gadgetry but more functional. Genius!

We'll all be in virtual worlds soon. As predicted by Zap Comix. Be a spy! Be a whore! Be a dictator! Rule the world!

We're almost there.

pacwest said...

Rumored, not confirmed, display for the Apple HMD is 4K. Twice the resolution of Meta's Quest2, but the AR is what will really set it apart from the competition. At $3K it better be special.

Kate said...

Have they overcome the vertigo problem? Most of us get motion sick with a virtual headset.

And, I remember Mark Kern (team lead on WoW) once saying that he's tested a lot of VR equipment. For a few days it's fascinating, and then his brain rewires and the reality becomes mundane.

Let me guess. The NYT didn't delve that far into the topic.

madAsHell said...

How is virtual reality any different than transgender madness??

Bruce Hayden said...

Apple is going nowhere there. Since they lost Steve Jobs, they have lost strategic vision. They are little different from GM or Ford in that respect. Ok, those two companies don’t invent anything anymore, but instead force their suppliers to do the inventing, then try to steal the inventions with joint development agreements, which they are happy to sign, to stay their suppliers. Apple really doesn’t innovate anymore, just engages in incremental tweaking, larding their products with more, mostly unnecessary, functionality that someone else invented. Of course, they aren’t alone - Microsoft is further along down this road, with each generation of their products less robust, because of the continually added lard. Apple engineers are institutionally incapable of this sort of innovation.

gilbar said...

The forthcoming product is a headset that will cost about $3,000.
i could go on five guide trips on the North Platte for $3,000 and have money left over.

Can the 'metaverse' give me a neat sunburn? What about getting trout slime all over me?
For that matter, what about lunch?

metaverse.. to quote Cher Horowitz; Ugh! As If!

Sebastian said...

"I will take ugly reality over happy fantasy every time."

But the Althouse theorem that people don't believe what they profess to believe tells us it ain't so.

Revealed preferences do as well: millions took the happy fantasy of Moderate Joe over the ugly reality of dementia and prog destruction, millions self-medicate on a daily basis with pot, cocaine, and fentanyl in delusions of happy fantasy, and the trans cult promotes the happy fantasy of mutilated kids leading happy lives over the ugly reality of sex.

Scott Patton said...

I'm looking forward to useful augmented reality.

Blackbeard said...

Apple has a successful history of developing products before there are much in the way of applications for those products. A few early adopters will buy them anyway and then the developers will follow. I remember when the first iPhones came out and "experts" laughed, saying "Who needs a combination telephone/iPod." Who is laughing now?

Although I do agree that the $3K price is a bit steep.

rehajm said...

Have they overcome the vertigo problem? Most of us get motion sick with a virtual headset.

I’m working with a major auto company who is talking about vr and ar in the car to improve productivity and counter the effects of motion sickness. How the heck is that supposed to work?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ gilbar - point taken. But once you have the devices, you can visit Paris, Bangkok, and the Serengeti, and even if each program is 1/10 what its costs in reality now, you can reuse it next year. Hell, you can visit Paris 1927 soon enough. Will it be as good as the real thing? No, but if it's 50% as good and reusable, it's worth it.

The Godfather said...

I'M 80, so my interest in future technological developments is limited. But part of that is that I've already seen so much change (good and bad).
Take, for example, interstate highways. They were Ike's idea, growing out of the problem of moving troops from one side of the country to the other in WW2 (my father was on his way to the West Coast to ship to the Pacific when the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and he got orders to turn around). When I was 17 a friend and I drove across the US from New England to visit the National Parks from Glacier to Grand Canyon; there were no Interstates on our route after we passed Chicago.
I remember several years later being shown a telephone you carried in your pocket -- a partner in my law firm bought it for just south of $1,000 (real money in those days); in a few months the price had dropped to under $400. Then a little later my law firm bought personal computers for every lawyer to have on his/her (the "her" was pretty new, too) desk, and the firm gave you $2,000 toward buying your own "laptop" to use at home. Now I have a phone that doubles as a PC and can do more stuff than any desk top PC used to do, and you basically pay for it on your phone bill.
Do you remember when they "de-regulated" air travel? Thanks to Jimmy Carter you could actually travel anywhere in the US for about what Greyhound used to charge. Downside: The people you are traveling with are the ones you'd have traveled with on Greyhound.
I don't know about virtual reality or artificial intelligence. Right now I've got a "pacemaker" that may be keeping me alive and healthy. There may come a time when I find that's a negative, but right now it's A-OK.

gilbar said...

VR is JUST for porn... Prove me wrong

Karlito2000 said...

Second Life is still a thing and has never gone anywhere. Meta will be no different.

gilbar said...

Assistant Village Idiot said...
once you have the devices, you can visit Paris, Bangkok, and the Serengeti..
Hell, you can visit Paris 1927 soon enough.

So, you Admit, that it's Just For Porn :)

Christopher B said...

AVI Good concept but seriously limited market. The thrill of being somewhere is *actually* being there, not just seeing (and maybe hearing but I don't think anyone is working on smell-o-vision) what it looks like, coupled with the joys (and unpleasantries) of travel. I doubt that you get even 25% of the experience of being somewhere using VR and probably comes a lot closer to breakeven.

I suspect that a major portion of this work is to either improve or leverage military tech designed to give improved visibility outside armored and other vehicles without admitting you are taking military contracts.

wildswan said...

I debate this AR and its possibilities all the time in my mind. I'm too old to make it to New Zealand - but what if there was an AR travel, adventure, whatever? Wouldn't that be great? But, then I think - would it be great? Wouldn't it probably be just be a shopping trip, really? A version of late night sales documentaries? The Kardashians Do New Zealand? Will AR New Zealand really visit the ferns? Will it have my eye with my mind behind it? Or will Anderson Cooper pop up from lush greenery spouting NPR babble like a slug leaving a slime track?
When I went to Europe I was on a prolife mission and everything was full of meaning. I personally experienced the jails, the courts, the cold secularism, Poland re-generating, pilgrimages. But so little of what I experienced has ever found its way into the acceptable "narratives" of our times. So how likely is it that AR will take me away to another reality as did the Sixties and the prolife world?
Or even another reality like Wisconsin. Consider just Althouse's sunrises. Not AR - but something AR has to keep up with or it won't seem real, amirite?
But then think of Metaverse - cold, white corridors with people who hate me, meeting each other to plan the extinction of the Christians after the Bud Lite promotion is finished. Yes, I feel the Bud Lite promotion was worked out on a whiteboard and Zoom meetings in Metaverse. I think if they'd looked at the Althouse sunrises they wouldn't have been so stupid but, fortunately, they don't look at reality and they will continue to be that stupid.
Yet I'd like AR to make New Zealand accessible to me.

tim maguire said...

I think a lot of companies will have a lot of interest in VR zoom meetings. Even at $3,000 a pop, it will pay for itself quickly if it creates a realistic in-person feel without making people physically come together.

That’s the niche market. Gamers will follow. I’m less sure about the general public, but the applications for porn will be pretty lucrative.

Saint Croix said...

"No. No one cares. I will take ugly reality over happy fantasy every time."

That would be a weird way to approach art. Art can only be representational of life, and thus it needs to be a two-dimensional ugly and reduced version of reality? What a boring, fucked up version of art.

I enjoy any number of happy fantasies, from the song that silenced the Nazis in Casablanca to the naked blue women who painted a canvas for Yves Klein.

In the art world, I vote for happy fun over ugly shit, every time. The key to making this tech work is joy!

B. said...

Didn’t we already see Google Glass?

Michael K said...

The Army uses VR to train surgeons. I have seen a few demonstrations but don't how it has worked out. Laparoscopic surgery would be easy to do VR with as it is all on a TV screen. Trauma surgery, not so much.

Yancey Ward said...

Face it- we are already living a computer generated reality while decomposing in a recliner somewhere. Prove me wrong.

Douglas B. Levene said...

The technology is not even close. The current version of cyberspace is not a fully immersive reality, not anything like that. We probably need direct chip-to-brain interfaces before that happens and that's a long ways off. I can predict this, however: if and when the technology is developed that makes virtual reality immersive and exciting, with all five senses activated in ways that seem completely realistic, porn will be the first big market for it.

stlcdr said...

While the things noted were a 'niche' and turned out big, there are probably 100 to 100o or more 'niche' things that simply went away. They are exceptions.

And as noted, since Jobs passed away, they have no vision and no sense of 'doing it right'.

Enigma said...

With Apple censoring p0rn for a very long time, I doubt they are considering the Second Life fantasy role play and fantasy sex business model. Given the $3,000 price tag and Apple's strong presence in the creative / arts / design markets, I'm thinking it'll be an ultra-high-resolution, ultra-fine-control tool for interactive design. This could be very useful for engineering and the film and arts markets. This would be a pro tool.

They surely learned that Meta's legless cartoon office avatars are a dead end. But we all knew that before Zuckerberg knew it. He had an aging Facebook audience and money burning a hole in his pocket, so he threw billions against the wall to see what stuck.

rwnutjob said...

Me when the iPhone came out after everyone else:
"An Apple phone? What a stupid idea. Who the fuck would buy that?"

NYT smh

Jamie said...

Thanks to Jimmy Carter you could actually travel anywhere in the US for about what Greyhound used to charge. Downside: The people you are traveling with are the ones you'd have traveled with on Greyhound.

This made me laugh, and then sigh.

Leland said...

I have three kinds of VR devices (perhaps 4 if you include nearly any android phone can be a VR device). The only one I use regularly allows me to watch YouTube like a TV, so it really isn’t VR. The most intriguing is one I can use with a flight simulator which is quite immersive but has enough drawbacks that I tend not to use it. The one that sits most unused is an Oculus Quest 2, which was made just before Meta/Facebook took them over. It can do the same as the regular device after I configure all the additional safety measures added to it and use if a lighted room, that I can’t see but it needs to see to orient itself. A lot of effort for little gain, which is why it sits unused.

In the professional world, VR is more a gimmick compared to augmented reality (AR). Most commenter have noted this. You don’t even need a headset for AR. You only need a device that knows what it is looking at, either by image recognition, orientation in space, or combination of both. A phone or tablet will work. My wife’s car has it to help with navigation by overlaying graphics in video to show route instructions. My company uses it during major assembly projects along with a digital twin to help show where equipment should go and provide information of the parts. In Operations, a similar AR/digital twin combination can provide specifications on equipment, operating instructions and checklists, and maintenance history. None of this needs a headset that blocks out reality.

Hassayamper said...

I was the nerdy kid taking college classes in computer programming while I was still in junior high, learning FORTRAN bath programming on Hollerith punch cards. I had a computer of my own before the IBM PC had been invented. I was earning $25k a year as a computer programmer by my second year in college, which was more than my dad made in those days. I had an email address in 1986 and a “.net” address in 1989, back when that was a status symbol that blew the old Twitter blue check marks right out of the water. I was on CompuServe, BBS’s, Usenet, gopher, and created and published my own WWW server within a year after Sor Tim Berners-Lee published the HTML 1.0 protocol. I had subscriptions to BYTE and WIRED that I read cover to cover every month. I had a blog before Althouse did. I had a PGP key in 1993 that is still out there on the keyservers. My career took a course away from computers in the 1990’s, but I remained a believer in the bright future that the rise of the machines would bring, at least as late as the invention of Bitcoin.

But looking back now, from the perspective of 2023, I wonder how much benefit will persist from these infernal machines to outweigh the enslavement and brainwashing they now portend. Any faith I had that the Internet would free us from the shackles of tyrannical government was washed away by the response to the COVID pandemic, and the rapidly accelerating capabilities of AI, face/voice recognition, CGI, and VR fill me with dread for the future of humanity. I believe that computers will become, if they are not already, the greatest tools for dictatorial oppression since the invention of gunpowder. In my darker moments I am tempted to run off and join the Amish or an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.

I wonder how many people like me, who would have been natural alpha and beta customers for a product like this, now want nothing to do with it.