VR glasses, self-driving cars and folding iPhones are the three most anticipated products of the next decade from Apple.
Apple has overcome the Covid-19 pandemic with many impressive achievements. iPhone 12, the much-anticipated 5G iPhone generation, has very good sales. The first Macbook to run on a chip manufactured by the company has received a lot of positive reviews. Apple is also the first US company to reach a market capitalization of 2 trillion USD .
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This technology giant still achieved many achievements even though stores around the world were closed because of the epidemic.
But Apple is not satisfied with this. Its investors and customers are both wondering about the next product, especially one that can replace the iPhone in the future. This is a market that brings huge revenue to the company but has slowed down in recent years even before the pandemic.
Since taking over from Steve Jobs nearly 10 years ago, CEO Tim Cook has proven himself to be a brilliant innovator by expanding into wearable devices like the Apple Watch and AirPods. Thanks to Tim Cook, Apple has gained a foothold in the rapidly growing market of digital services (like listening to music, watching videos).
3 products that are arguably the most important in Apple’s future: self-driving cars, folding iPhones, and AR glasses
Now is the time to see what Tim Cook will do in about 5-10 years. With a team of veteran executives reassigned to key roles, the tech company is starting the next phase of its revolution through challenging products beyond what the tech firm has been and is doing. done so far.
According to Insider , a pair of smart glasses and a folding phone are in production. Of course, it would be remiss not to mention self-driving cars, the product that promises to be the biggest bet in the company’s history.
Many experts say that the most important thing is not the design direction or the manufacturing technique, but whether Apple can overcome the too large shadow of the iPhone.
Apple’s Next Computing Device
There are many articles and rumors that indicate Apple is working on VR and AR virtual reality glasses technology. The rumor spread further with the news that the company was planning to make VR glasses, which are the forerunners of AR headsets.
According to Bloomberg , virtual reality glasses products will be aimed at programmers rather than ordinary users. The glasses will be the driving force behind developers to build new applications based on AR and VR technology, before the wearable devices are released later.
Apple’s unusual move will answer the question of whether its glasses will succeed or fail. That is also the challenge that other technology giants such as Facebook, Microsoft and Sony are facing.
IDC said that the global market for devices using AR and VR technology has been slowing down since the third quarter of 2020, the number of orders dropped to 569,000. The reason is because Sony and Oculus are transitioning to newer devices. However, this number is still far behind 354.7 million smartphone orders in the same period.
The virtual reality headset will be equipped with modern sensors and screens, with more than 10 cameras to track hand movements, 8K screens and support user eye movement (ET), according to The Information . .
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Apple’s sudden jump into the virtual reality market is similar to its expansion into wearables like the Apple Watch and AirPods, according to Neil Cybart, an Apple analyst.
“Apple doesn’t usually create replacements for previous devices. They will create another choice for users. Those products have some features from the company’s previous devices,” Cybart told Insider .
Up until now, this strategy is absolutely correct. Apple Watch and AirPods are two devices that can perform some functions of the iPhone in a streamlined way, and they have put Apple at the forefront of the market even though it is only a “latecomer”.
The new generation in Apple’s design array
Apple’s entry into a new field like virtual reality is an affirmation that the company’s design department has just made a “blood change” in the leadership department.
Designer Jony Ive spent 30 years building designs for Apple from the very beginning, from the iMac to the iPhone, the Apple Watch and the company’s Apple Park campus. But he left the company in 2019 to open his own design company, and Apple is one of its customers.
Apple’s most famous designers no longer work for themselves. Therefore, the technology company has begun to turn to digital technologies such as VR, AR or folding phones.
Two veteran Apple designers, Evans Hankey, VP of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, VP of User Interface Design, both work under Jeff Williams, Head of Design.
According to Bloomberg , Alan Dye has taken over design management for Apple for many years. In 2015, following the launch of the Apple Watch and Jony Ive taking over as head of design, Alan Dye was appointed design manager alongside Richard Howarth.
Evans Hankey has worked at Apple for more than a decade and was Ive’s right-hand man during his time at the company. She also holds many design product patents, the Wall Street Journal reported.
But she doesn’t appear in public much anymore. She rarely gives interviews to the press, while Alan Dye has been the spokesperson for the Apple Watch and Mac software in recent years. She has never appeared at important Apple events or product promotional videos.
Jony Ive’s departure isn’t the only recent shock to the company’s design team. In 2019, four members of the design team Rico Zorkendorfer, Miklu Silvanto, Julian Honig, and Daniele De Iuliis also left.
But the departure of Jony Ive and other veteran members of the design department does not affect Apple’s ambitions in upcoming products. According to Bloomberg , Jony Ive has long suspended his role in the company’s operations. That means members like Hankey and Dye have probably been running the division for the past few years.
Recent resignations also show that the tech giant has had the opportunity to recruit new, young, mature talents in the age of the iPhone, who can find directions for new products, Cybart said.
The Future of the iPhone
Apple also experimented with built-in technologies that competitors had failed before: folding phones. In January, Bloomberg reported that the company had successfully built a prototype of a folding smartphone. This is a strategic product of Samsung to develop the brand’s mobile devices.
Samsung Galaxy Fold – a folding phone from Samsung.
But like VR and AR, foldable phones are not welcomed by users because they are too expensive compared to regular phone models. Market research firm Gartner predicts folding phones will account for less than 5% of the premium phone market by 2023, and strategic analysts also say that foldable phone orders will be around the 100 million applications by 2025.
But that doesn’t mean tech giants like Apple should write off folding phones right now. Flip phones like the Motorola Razr were popular even though candy bar phones were still easier to pocket, convenient and durable, says Horace Dediu, founder and analyst at Asymco, who spent 8 years working at Nokia, interviewed by Insider .
Apple is experimenting with folding phone technology.
However, Apple still has tricks to help streamline the technology and focus on developing interfaces that can be used on digital devices like the click wheel on the iPod, said Patrick Moorhead, founder and lead analyst at Apple Inc. Moor Insights & Strategy said. This is the advantage of this technology giant in the implementation of folding phones and virtual reality glasses.
Whether it’s VR glasses, a folding iPhone or a car designed by Apple itself, success will depend on two main factors. First, the company must choose the right time by entering the market when these devices are gradually developing strongly and must be before a certain competitor “raises its hand” and establishes the No. 1 position.
Apple has successfully implemented this strategy with the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Apple Watch, but lost its time with smart speakers. Although the company owns two smart speaker products that integrate Siri virtual assistant, HomePod and HomePod Mini, the market leader is still Amazon’s Echo with its smart home technology and virtual assistant.
Samsung is also on track to surpass Apple in 2013, 2014 because the smartphone market is gradually shifting towards large, cheap smartphone devices. This is the criterion that Android phone manufacturers have done earlier than Apple.
Meanwhile, the tech giant’s competitors are also investing in the design department, said Gadi Amit, president and lead designer at New Deal Design.
He told Insider , “Apple is facing the challenge of dominating industrial design. People can’t ignore the strides that Samsung, Google and Microsoft have made.”
But most of all, the technology company’s success in new areas like folding phones is due to the launch of new products when it is certain that it can make a big change. Besides, it is also important that product design and development departments work together instead of working separately.
“This is an entire system, not just individuals working together. The way they collaborate says it all. Anyone who separates from Apple cannot achieve the same achievements as the whole company has achieved,” Dediu shared.