The virtual reality (VR) market did not fare well in 2022, but if Apple (AAPL) releases its long-rumored headset this year, it could propel VR towards mainstream consumers, according to some analysts.

According to NDP research, virtual reality (VR) market sales were down about 2% year-over-year to $1.1 billion in 2022, while Meta (META) reportedly struggled to maintain consumer interest in its new Meta Quest Pro, slashing prices just last week. However, if Apple enters the market this year as expected, the public perception of virtual reality could begin to shift.

Ramon Llamas, director of research at IDC, stated, “In virtual reality, we haven’t yet reached the hockey-stick moment, where the technology explodes in popularity like smartphones did.” “We’re not yet at the point where people look at this and say, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to try it on,’ but Apple could help us reach that tipping point.”

Llamas believes that Apple’s design expertise and extensive ecosystem could attract new consumers to the market.

“Apple is arguably the most trusted brand in the tech industry, and it’s in Apple’s DNA to make things ridiculously simple to use,” he told Yahoo Finance. In addition, Apple’s “extensive ecosystem of devices, applications, and services” could provide consumers with multiple entry points, as they seamlessly transition between, say, Apple TV and applications on their Apple Watches or iPhones.

“How would you like to watch Apple TV in VR? There is a certain flow that could accumulate “said Llamas.

‘That’s Where the Battle’s Really Going to Begin’

If Apple’s Vr Headset Does Indeed Hit Shelves This Year, It Will Undoubtedly Disrupt the Current Vr Market Leader, Meta (meta). Idc Reports that Meta Has a Staggering 82% Share of The Vr Market.

“meta Is the Clear Market Leader in Vr and Very Advanced in Terms of Building a Compelling B2 C and B2 B Ecosystem – the Partnership Between Meta and Microsoft Is an Example,” Said Rolf Illenberger, Managing Director at Virtual Reality Software Provider v Rdirect. “however, Meta Faces an Uphill Battle when It Comes to Enterprise Customer Acceptance. Apple Is Familiar with This Market and Has Leveraged Its Smartphone Business Within the B2 B Sector. Meta Will Continue to Dominate the Market, but The Competitive Landscape Will Intensify.”

Over Time, These Dynamics Could Develop Into a Full-Scale Conflict Between Apple and Meta.

“once Apple’s Headsets Reach Cycle Two or Three, when We’re Past the ‘warts and All’ Stage,” Said Llamas, “we’ll Be Able to Compare Features and Ask Who’s Doing It Best.” This Is Where the Battle Will Actually Begin.

However, that Is Likely Many Years Away. Vr Is Fundamentally Still in Its Infancy.

“a Vr-Related Apple Announcement Will Undoubtedly Help the Vr Market, but There Are Significant Obstacles that Vr Must Overcome that Cannot Be Addressed by A Single Vendor,” Said Gartner Director Analyst Tuong Nguyen. “apple Can Certainly Contribute to The Momentum, but It Will Require an Industry-Wide Effort”

Nguyen Added, “there Is Still a Significant Gap Between What We Want and What Some Are Promising and What It Can Actually Deliver.”

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