As firms settle into 2024, the New Year rush is now concluding. Companies like Meta and Microsoft are reviewing previous months, discussing revenue and roadmaps, and forecasting what’s to come.
Equally, the dust will soon settle following the debut of the Apple Vision Pro, which is currently filling social media feeds. The hype wave for XR may still be riding high as Apple gains a robust application ecosystem and Meta documents record XR revenue gains, but can it hold on?
Optimism is high, and if the impressive hardware market gets system-selling content, enterprise and consumer adoption may follow if the right ubiquity and design considerations are applied.
ChatGPT Debuts on Apple Vision Pro
Of the many workplace applications available on the Apple Vision Pro, the 2023 headline-stealing ChatGPT by OpenAI also debuted on the device this week.
Following the debut of CoPilot on Vision Pro, ChatGPT, by associated Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI, is joining the platform, offering a genAI experience independent from the Microsoft banner.
The genAI solution doesn’t extensively use the Vision Pro’s 3D computing features. Nevertheless, the device does provide users the ability to view a 2D screen within their spatial computing environment, which is equipped with cutting-edge AI technology. Users can input commands using the device’s distinct input features.
Apple Vision Pro Debuts Beta 1.1 Update
The ChatGPT application comes as Apple roll out a beta 1.1 update for Vision Pro developers this week that introduces a range of new optimisations and improvements, including:
- 3D Asset Interaction: Vision Pro users can now interact with 3D assets more efficiently by pulling them closer to gain clarity and ease of use.
- Personas: The updated feature fixes Persona “enrollment” and enhances eye tracking. Developers report significantly improved avatars when the Persona framework launches its next public.
- SwiftUI: This update introduces a new SwiftUI framework, enabling a coordinated spatial environment and managing 360 immersive application placement. The Vision Pro’s 1.1 update improves application placement and tracks environmental changes.
The 1.1 update is just a small one; as the device grows into its first few months, it will likely see many updates readying the XR device for a worldwide market.
Notably, the iPhone’s’ first version looks monumentally different from the current iOS version. If the Vision Pro has a similar shelf life in the coming years, the platform will most likely be unidentifiable in comparison.
Meta’s’ “”Year of Efficiency”” Leads to Record-Breaking Revenue
After a period of revenue losses, Meta’s XR research and development division, Reality Labs, announced record profits during the Menlo Park firm’s fiscal year earnings call. The call revealed that Reality Labs had secured approximately $1 billion in the last three months of 2023.
Although the division had lost $4.65 billion throughout 2023, the preceding months indicated a potential upward trend, which could further improve with Apple’s entry into the XR market. In the meantime, the company as a whole earned $7.8 billion in the final quarter of 2023 and a yearly profit of $32 billion.
Meta’s’ CEO also explained that the firm’s Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are experiencing a “very strong start, both in sales and engagement,” Zuckerberg also said how the firm’s partner EssilorLuxottica is forecasting an increase in product production, beating both company’s expectations “”due to high demand.””
During the earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg noted that 2023 was Meta’s’ “”year of efficiency.”” Moreover, the CEO stated that the direction enabled Meta to concentrate on developing the firm as a stronger technology company and establish “the stability to deliver our ambitious long-term vision for AI and the metaverse.”
Microsoft avoids HoloLens and Industrial Metaverse Talk.
Microsoft recently released its financial results for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2024. Although the company talked about its genAI technology, it did not mention its MR/spatial applications, HoloLens 2, or industrial metaverse roadmap.
This is surprising because Microsoft had been focusing on developing XR solutions since mid-2023, when it appeared that the company’s investment in XR was dropped in favour of genAI, only to pick up again in the middle of the year.
Despite not mentioning XR in the call, Microsoft is still working on immersive solutions for its enterprise end-users worldwide, collaborating with clients such as the US Army, Boeing, and SNC-Lavalin. Microsoft Mesh, a popular Teams video conferencing platform, received a significant update in January that introduced immersive VR meeting features.