While Meta is pouring billions into CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of a metaverse, Apple CEO Tim Cook believes most people can’t even define it, let alone live in it for any length of time, reports The Verge.
“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is,” Cook said in an interview with the Dutch publication Bright. “And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
In other words, despite persistent reports of Apple’s interest in building all sorts of AR and VR hardware, Cook isn’t ready to say the company is working on any so-called “metaverse.”
Mark Zuckerberg holds a different opinion. Earlier this year, Meta’s CEO told employees that the company was in a “very deep, philosophical competition” with Apple to build a meta universe.
“This is a competition of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and tightly integrating that they build a better consumer experience,” Zuckerberg said, contrasting what he calls Apple’s closed approach with Meta’s more open development.
Tim Cook also expressed skepticism that people will want to spend long periods of time in VR in the future.
“VR is something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. But I don’t think you want to live your whole life that way,” Mr. Cook said. “Virtual reality is good for certain occasions, but not for comfortable communication.”
Cook’s comments make him the latest in a string of high-profile CEOs to express skepticism about the metaverse. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told The Guardian that the company avoids using the term because it’s “quite ambiguous and hypothetical” and that if you asked a room of people to define it, everyone would be “completely different”. Meanwhile, Amazon’s head of devices David Limp recently said that if he asked “several hundred people what they think about the metaverse, we’d get 205 different answers” and that there is no “common definition” of the term.
But while Cook, Spiegel, and Limp are publicly skeptical of the term “metaverse,” Apple, Snap, and Amazon are reportedly investing — to one degree or another — in similar technologies, which Meta believes will one day become the foundation of the metaspatial future. Cook is a big fan of augmented reality, and Apple could announce a combined AR/VR headset as early as 2023, while Snap released its first pair of AR glasses as a limited beta last year and says millions of people are already interacting with AR through her app. Amazon has released several AR apps over the years and is rumored to have at least one augmented reality device in the works.