I already discussed a few times where Apple would be standing regarding augmented or virtual reality glasses. Whether you care about Apple or this market is not so much the point of using this as an interesting discussion about what innovation is and how such a powerful company deals with it.
John Gruber, Apple commentator extraordinaire, posted his personal comments on the latest batch of rumors regarding Apple's much anticipated future glasses last week.
What he's pointing at in his own knee-jerk way (his term, not mine 😊) is how much journalists and tech forecasters miss the point on how innovation works and keep thinking it's all about invention and meeting the lowest price point possible to enter a market. This might work if you sell yogurts of HD TVs, not when you intend to change the market with entirely new categories.
The story of conflating products and added value is long and rich.
And this is the core of the discussion right there. Yes, AR or VR glasses are technically doable today (even if there are still some glaring issues with the technology for the time being). But this is not the discussion. The discussion would be: what are the new opportunities, the process acceleration, the increased productivity, and the new social paradigms that these glasses would unlock?
There is pretty much zero answers to this as of today.
And regarding AR/VR, I'm anything but a Luddite. I was sporting Silicon Graphics 3D goggles for protein modeling during my Master's degree in the bloody nineties! I know they are use cases.
To quote Gruber:
No one is going to buy a $3,000 headset for videoconferencing. (...) No one is going to buy a $3,000 headset for looking at 3D tabletop maps.
What you see currently unfolding is history repeating again and again, just like when the Microsoft Surface table was launched, or ironically enough, 3D TVs.
Welcome back to 2008!