Apple’s privacy update has affected Meta’s advertising business, and Meta is also criticizing Apple’s app store policy. However, well-known technology journalist Mark Gurman (Mark Gurman) believes that the two companies' competition in other areas will also heat up, including wearable devices, smart home devices, and AR/VR.
In the past ten years, Apple’s main competitor has always been considered Google, and the two companies are tit-for-tat in the areas of smartphones, mobile operating systems, network services, and home devices. However, in the next ten years, more intense competition may be launched between Apple and Meta. The duel between the two technology giants has begun to take shape, mainly on privacy issues.
Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg for improper handling of user information. Apple has even developed new privacy and health features, many industry observers believe that these features are for Meta's business. Meta criticized Apple's app store policies, including the high commission rates it charges, and Apple's stance on mobile games and virtual activities.
But all of this cannot be compared with the fiercer competition that is brewing behind the scenes. The real battle between the two parties will revolve around AR/VR helmets, smartwatches, smart home devices, and digital services, as well as their respective "meta-universe" visions.
As we all know, Meta is frustrated with its loss in the smartphone boom and knows that its failure is irreversible. So, just like Amazon did after the failure of its Fire-branded phones, Meta is looking for new areas where it can take advantage. Of course, its most promising market is helmets, thanks in part to its acquisition of Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.
Meta started to launch VR headsets a few years ago, but the market is expected to heat up rapidly in 2022, both in terms of hardware capabilities and competition. Last month, Meta introduced its first true mixed reality helmet Project Cambria. So far, Meta’s helmets have always focused on VR, completely attracting users to the digital world. This is different from AR glasses, which overlay digital information in the real world. The Project Cambria helmet mixes the two, adding full-color AR coverage to VR.
Compared with previous Meta devices, Project Cambria helmets are also equipped with more advanced processors, sensors, and lenses. This reminds us of Apple’s actions. The company plans to launch a similar high-end mixed reality helmet next year, perhaps only a few months later than the launch of the Meta device. Apple devices may sell for around $2,000, while Meta helmets are much cheaper. Nevertheless, for users who wish to experience Metaverse, these two products will become direct challengers.
But this is just the beginning. While Apple is preparing to enter the field of Meta VR helmets, Meta also plans to enter the world of Apple's smartwatches. It’s no secret that Apple Watch is the leader in the connected watch market. Now, Meta wants to get a piece of the pie.
Meta is developing its own smartwatch to counter Apple, and it may be available as early as next year. The company is even preparing for the third generation of this product, which shows that it plans to challenge Apple in the next few years. The main selling point of Meta is the thing that Apple has always refused to offer, namely the video chat camera. If Meta watches become popular because of this feature, it is expected that Apple may also add similar features.
Although Apple Watch is a multifunctional device, health monitoring is a key feature. Meta also showed great interest in this area. Meta explored the idea of health tracking in its VR products. Eventually, this may extend to the wrist. This means that users will be able to better monitor their own exercise effects when exercising in VR. Similarly, if Apple finally launches a fitness service similar to Fitness +, people can wear a helmet to exercise without being surprised.
Next is home equipment. This is an area where neither Apple nor Meta has gained much appeal, but it may be one of the key battlefields in the future.
Three years ago, Meta began to enter the field of home appliances with the video chat device Portal. Since then, the company has redesigned the product, introduced a new model that uses a TV as a display, and recently launched a portable, battery-powered Portal Go.
Whether in terms of market share or the way people use these devices, Meta still has a long way to go to compete with Amazon and Google in the home furnishing sector. But in the past few weeks, many users who have tested Portal Go are confident of Meta's prospects.
Apple’s recent contributions to this area have been minimal, at least in terms of hardware. The company released HomePod in 2018, launched the HomePod mini in 2020, and added a new HomePod mini color earlier this month. Apple's HomeKit platform and applications have been improved, and they also decided to open the smart assistant Siri to third-party devices.
But Gulman believes that Apple is about to get serious in the field of home appliances. The company is always testing at least two new home devices: one is a device that integrates speakers and a TV set-top box with a camera, and the other is a smart speaker with a screen that is more similar to a Portal or Amazon Echo Show.