There is no denying that Apple
and Google are rivals. Think of all the battles they have fought on the field over the dead wallets and credit cards of consumers. There is the iOS vs. Android battle which has been turned by consumers posting on tech forums into the Uncivil War. There are competing apps such as the up-and-coming Apple Maps vs. the currently reigning champion, Google Maps.
Both Apple and Meta’s CEOs have taken turns blasting each other’s company
And now that Google
has taken the Pixel
to a new level for hardware, the Pixel 6
series is a true iPhone challenger. But as Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reminds us in the latest edition of his weekly Power On
newsletter, Apple has a newer rivalry that might lead to another tech war. This rival is Meta Platforms Inc., the company you probably still think of as Facebook.
Leaked photo of Meta’s rumored smartwatch. Note the camera on the bottom of the screen
But now it appears as though the Facebook-Apple skirmish will be more than just a war of words. Back in October, we passed along a photo of a smartwatch that Meta is supposedly going to release
next year. With looks borrowed from Apple, the upcoming wearable will also include a camera for video chats. As Gurman points out, if Meta can successfully integrate video chat with its timepiece, Apple will have no choice but to add a similar feature for the Apple Watch
using its FaceTime platform.
Both Apple and Facebook are rumored to release mixed-reality headsets next year. Mixed reality includes both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Facebook, which already makes the Oculus brand of VR headsets, calls its mixed reality device by the codename of Project Cambria. Apple’s mixed reality product is expected to be a premium device sold at a premium price (in the area of $2,000 Gurman forecasts) vs. the Meta device which will probably be more affordable than Apple’s headset.
Virtual reality immerses the headset wearer and makes him feel as though he is in a different location and even a different time period. Augmented reality places an overlay over a real-time image. Both companies could feature content for their mixed reality headsets that would allow users to exercise at different venues using VR. As Gurman suggests, Apple could make its Fitness+ exercise app available for its mixed reality headset.
One area where Apple may or may not decide to get in Meta’s face is with home products. Meta has its smart display and video chat products that it calls Portal and even offers a battery-powered mobile unit called Portal Go. These devices use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for video chat and Alexa as its voice-activated digital assistant.
Apple and Facebook’s battles will be like a rough and tumble street fight
Apple has its HomePod
smart speakers. The full-sized model was released at a ridiculously high price of $349 before Apple slashed the price. A year ago it launched the HomePod mini, which at $99 has seen more demand than the OG model ever did. Gurman says that Apple is about to get more involved in such devices and points out two such products that Apple is rumored to be working on.
One of the two devices is a smart screen that might end up competing with the Portal lineup, and the Amazon Echo Show. The other product reportedly combines a speaker and a TV set-top box with a camera.