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Apple Doing it 'Right' and Google Shutting Down its Project Iris: What is Going On In the AR, VR, and XR Space According to Statista, AR & VR market is projected to reach USD 31.12 billion in 2023 and is expected to touch USD 200.1 billion by 2030, as per P&S Intelligence.

By Paromita Gupta

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It's an exciting time and space to be a tech enthusiast, especially when it comes to glasses and headsets. A lot has happened in the first half of the year itself, with Meta announcing the Quest 3 (along with a key discount on Quest 2) and Apple unveiling its Vision Pro.

According to Statista, AR & VR market is projected to reach USD 31.12 billion in 2023 and is expected to touch USD 200.1 billion by 2030, as per P&S Intelligence. The AR/VR, holistically, comprises various integral segments such as AR Advertising, AR Hardware, AR Software, VR Advertising, VR Hardware, and VR Software. At present, without a doubt, AR Software is the largest market by revenue. AR Hardware has the biggest gain when it comes to revenue change by market. In short, 2023 is the year of AR/VR hardware.

"Apple is a major player that has recently entered this space with the release of its mixed reality headset 'Apple Vision Pro' which has brought significant attention to this sector. Other big names like Microsoft developing the latest HoloLens 2, Meta's recent announcement of Meta Quest 3, is a clear indicator that major tech players have not given up on the idea of the metaverse, and this sector still has the potential to grow in the future," shared Neha Singh, co-founder, Tracxn.

However, amid all this, Google dropped a bomb.

The Sundar Pichai-led company was reported of ending its Project Iris, an augmented reality (AR) headset rumoured to resemble a pair of ski goggles. The Verge reported the news of the tech giant's project in January 2022, and the headsets were expected to begin shipment in 2024. Three sources disclosed the news of closure to Business Insider.

The project was a tightly kept secret at Google, and not much is known about it. In February, Clay Bavor, the head of AR at Google, called quits after 15 years of association. He has been heading the AR VR division since 2015 and became the head of the Labs division in 2021.

This certainly came as a hard blow to the industry and tech geeks. Google is now shifting its focus from hardware to software and will work on building a "micro XR" platform which it will license to other headset manufacturers. This is a depature from corporates prioritizing hardware (headsets).

Meanwhile, Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus (now under Meta) praised Apple's strategy and vision on a podcast with Peter Diamandis. Talking about the specifications, pricing, and technology, Luckey shares, "They are trying to go balls to the wall, the highest possible resolution, the highest quality possible display, the best possible ergonomics, and they are going all in on that with little regards for it being affordable for everyone and I think that is actually the right approach for Apple to take right now." He also adds that the approach will eventually change in future resulting in a lower price but with the launch, Apple "basically did everything right."

Apple's Vision Pro was launched at the Apple WWDC 2023 conference earlier this month with a price tag of USD 3,499. That's almost seven times the cost of Meta's headset. But Luckey finds the move right for the brand, "Apple is going after the exact right segment of the market that Apple should be going after."

Around the same time, Lenovo launched its ThinkReality VRX headset, targeted for enterprise and business use cases. "As a global leader in providing Intelligent Transformation solutions to the enterprise, Lenovo built the ThinkReality VRX to be a high-quality, versatile and secure on-ramp to the Enterprise Metaverse," shared the computer manufacturing giant back in September 2022.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at 
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