I recently posted a case for Apple entering into another growth phase. I believe this can hold true if we are provided another positive catalyst for the stock. The catalyst would be a product the world has yet to see (one more thing…)
It’s not hard to find opinions on what that next product might be. Unfortunately in recent times many of those original product ideas never saw the light of day. Here are a few examples we’ve heard about over the years.
Apple TV (a physical TV set, not just the box)
Apple TV streaming service (premium channel bundles you can subscribe to, and maybe even getting into the content business itself)
Apple Car (a physical car, not just the software running inside the car)
Regarding that last example, we heard the team assembled for this effort (project Titan) was recently stripped down and its members repurposed. It sounds like Apple will continue to provide just the software running inside the car (CarPlay) and not the car itself.
However, there was product team assembled earlier this year, and that group has yet to be disbanded.
The FT reports Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) “has assembled a large team of experts in virtual and augmented reality and built prototypes of headsets that could one day rival Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Microsoft’s HoloLens.”
The team is said to include “hundreds of staff from a series of carefully targeted acquisitions, as well as employees poached from companies that are working on next-generation headset technologies.”
The FT also notes Apple has bought Flyby Media, a developer of software that lets mobile devices “scan” real-world objects and add them to a virtual collection.
The update above was from January 2016. It is likely a smaller team had started with a concept much earlier and ramped up to make it consumer-ready. Is a new Apple AR product forthcoming?
Fast forward to today, and we have Tim Cook sharing his thoughts on AR/VR.
Apple CEO Tim Cook perceives augmented reality a larger opportunity than virtual.
On AR: “My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present talking to each other, but also have other things visually for both of us to see. Maybe it’s something we’re talking about, maybe it’s someone else here that is not here, present, but could be made to appear to be present with us. So there’s a lot of really cool things there.”
On VR: “Virtual reality sort of encloses and immerses the person into an experience that can be really cool, but probably has a lower commercial interest over time, or less people would be interested in that.” He does, though, go on to note that Apple (AAPL +4.5%) has a lot of consideration for virtual reality as it relates to gaming and education.
While AR and VR initiatives have already been most notably underway at Alphabet, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft, efforts by Intel, Snapchat and Line have developed within the last few weeks, demonstrating broad increased movement throughout the space. With Cook’s comments today, it appears Apple’s entry to the arena is not far off.
Here is my prediction. With each iPhone generation we’ve seen significant improvements to the onboard camera and display. I think the next device we’ll see will be a headset designed to fit an iPhone Plus, and this pairing will give its wearer an immersive AR experience.
The introduction of such a product would initiate a two-way catalyst. The first is sales of the unit itself. The next is the spur of additional sales needed to make it all work. The iPhone 7 Plus.
Again, speculation, but worthy of consideration.