The formation of a Metaverse Standards Forum has been announced, with members comprising many of the companies expected to become major players in the space. Apple, however, was not one of them, despite its work on a mixed-reality headset.

The company didn’t offer any immediate comment on this, but it’s not a complete surprise …

Background

The metaverse is a term first coined by Neal Stephenson in the 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash. While there is no hard-and-fast definition of the term, it encompasses the idea of the internet existing as an immersive virtual world, accessed via VR or mixed-reality (AR/VR) headsets.

Facebook has been the loudest proponent of the idea that the metaverse represents the future of the internet, while Apple has taken a more restrained view.

Apple’s industrial designers were unconvinced that consumers would be willing to wear headsets for long periods of time, two of the people said.

It had been suggested that Apple might make some reference to its work in this area at the recent WWDC 2022 event, but it chose not to.

We recently summarized what we think we know so far. Of particular note, the first-generation headset is expected to be an extremely expensive device aimed primarily at developers and other professional users.

Display analysts DSCC corroborate a previous report by Bloomberg saying that this headset will come at a “high price”. DSCC thinks Apple’s AR/VR headset will cost “several thousand dollars”. Rumors suggested it would cost around $3,000.

“Our assumption is that the first-generation headset will be a high-end device targeted at professionals and developers to expand Apple’s ecosystem in AR/VR.”

The headset is expected to launch at the end of this year, but not be available in quantity until early 2023.

Metaverse Standards Forum

Reuters reports:

Meta, Microsoft, and other tech giants racing to build the emerging metaverse concept have formed a group to foster development of industry standards that would make the companies’ nascent digital worlds compatible with each other.

Participants in the Metaverse Standards Forum include many of the biggest companies working in the space, from chip makers to gaming companies, as well as established standards-setting bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the group said in an statement announcing its creation on Tuesday.

Conspicuously missing from the member list for now however is Apple, which analysts expect to become a dominant player in the metaverse race once it introduces a mixed reality headset this year or next […]

Apple has not yet publicly acknowledged plans for a headset, although it has reportedly given its board a sneak peek of the product, according to Bloomberg. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new metaverse forum.

9to5Mac’s Take

While Apple does belong to some standards bodies and industry working groups – with Matter and FIDO being timely examples – the company very much goes its own way with these things. Apple joins industry groups if and when it considers doing so to be advantageous to its own interests. In particular, the Cupertino company may wish to keep some distance between it and Meta/Facebook for now.

Additionally, while Apple’s work on a combined AR/VR headset may be the worst-kept secret in the tech world, it does technically remain a confidential unannounced product, so it’s no great surprise that the company doesn’t want to effectively confirm its plans by joining the body.

Finally, the company’s long-term ambitions are believed to lay more in augmented reality than virtual reality, in the form of an Apple Glasses product.

Image: Collage of images by Compare Fibre and Shahadat Rahman

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear