HTC Consumer Electronics CEO Cher Wang believes Apple will release its own mixed reality headset this year, but she’s not worried about the competition.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Wang said that Apple will likely launch a mixed reality product, or XR, “very soon” — “most likely this year.”
“XR” stands for technologies that blend the physical and digital worlds.
She added that the company is likely to prioritize such a device over augmented reality glasses, according to what she told CNBC, and Al Arabiya.net reviewed it.
Wang’s comments come as Apple is rumored to have indefinitely halted plans to launch augmented reality glasses until 2025. The company has long been rumored to be working on its own virtual and augmented reality experiences. And in January, Bloomberg reported that the iPhone maker is preparing to launch a mixed reality headset in the spring.
Apple often delays getting into a particular product trend or feature until long after other companies. For example, the company did not introduce a version of the iPhone with two lenses until 2017, which was a delay of about 3 years from HTC introducing a dual camera with the HTC One M8 in 2014.
“Apple is always more careful,” Wang said. “I think the market is now big enough [لدرجة] They will probably come in.”
For his part, said the lead analyst for mobile accessories in “CCS Insight”, Liu Jeppe: “When Apple makes its way in a certain new feature, it tends to redefine the way everyone thinks about it.”
The XR’s competition is fierce
Apple wouldn’t be the only company co-presenting the XR. In October, Meta Platforms launched the $1,500 Quest Pro, which allows users to interact with virtual objects that appear in a full-color display of the world around them.
Earlier this week, a Samsung executive said the South Korean electronics giant was “working” on a mixed reality strategy. Microsoft also has its own mixed reality glasses, called HoloLens. On Monday, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi unveiled a batch of prototypes for augmented reality glasses.
That means more competition for HTC, which shipped more than 100,000 XR devices in the second quarter of 2022, according to data from Counterpoint Research, up 158% from 40,000 shipments in the same period a year earlier. But its market share is still relatively small.
Wang believes that the entry into the industry of players the size of Apple, Meta, Samsung and others will boost the general adoption of mixed reality devices, which she sees as a boon for HTC’s business.
Betting on Metaverse
The long-term bet is that these devices will be the way we interact with a large-scale virtual world known as the Metaverse.
Recently, however, the hype around Metaverse, which Meta initially spearheaded and changed the company name from Facebook to Meta Platforms, in reference to its upcoming universe, has died down. Global shipments of VR headsets and augmented reality hardware sales fell more than 12% last year, according to IDC data.
Instead, companies are turning to AI, the new tech trend that has catapulted to the top of industry insiders’ favorite trends with ‘ChatGPT’.