Apple’s AR/VR headset won’t plug you into the Metaverse – and I think that's great

Apple is all-in on AR, but it’s meh about the Metaverse – and so am I, here's why

Apple AR headset render
(Image credit: AppleInsider)

Apple is famous for its Think Different slogan, and it seems to be thinking different about AR and VR with the imminent Apple AR/VR headset: to be blunt, Apple isn’t buying the Metaverse hype.

The news comes via Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, whose Power On newsletter is often a great source of Apple news. As Appleinsider reports, Gurman says that Apple has thought about the Metaverse – an always-on virtual world that’s a bit like The Matrix but without the kung-fu or Keanu – but isn’t impressed.

“I’ve been told pretty directly that the idea of a completely virtual world where users can escape to – like they can in Meta Platforms/Facebook’s vision of the future – is off limits for Apple,” Gurman says.

Good. As much as I love The Matrix, I don’t want to live in it – let alone live in a poor approximation of it.

Meh to the Metaverse

The Apple AR/VR headset does sound impressive: current rumours predict a curved visor with AirPods Max-esque strap, Apple Watch-style interchangeable bands, an M-series Apple processor or similar and LIDAR for hand and gesture recognition. 

I’m excited, because I love VR. I’m looking forward to upgrading from my PSVR to the PSVR2 this year, and I’ve lost countless hours to my Oculus VR headset and Beat Saber. But as someone who’s spent a lot of time in virtual worlds, I’m also very aware that the headsets get hot, heavy and uncomfortable, your eyes go a bit funny after even fairly short experiences and if you’re playing something fast-paced then from time to time you have to go and be sick in a bucket. 

I don’t want to wear a headset for long periods, let alone all day. And I don’t want to spend time in the Metaverse, or at least the version outlined by Meta/Facebook. To me it sounds too much like The Matrix, a virtual world that distracts you while you’re mined for resources – in this case data that can be used to sell you things or to be sold to others by firms whose track records on privacy, hate speech and online abuse are hardly stellar. 

The Apple AR/VR headset isn’t going to do that. It doesn’t offer a Second Life, pun fully intended: it’s here to make your existing life more fun, and maybe a bit easier too. And on that basis, it’s almost guaranteed to be the best VR headset for me.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).