Apple’s Next Big Thing

Yves here. I know we are supposed to care about Apple’s plans for new product lines, because in fairness, the iPhone was close to revolutionary and perhaps Apple without Steve Jobs could pull off creating or redefining a tech product category. But then again, there were high hopes for Google Glass and the Apple Watch.

Yours truly is not a good person to opine on this topic. While I have sometimes been bleeding edge (a NeXT owner and Internet user in 1991), my instincts are Luddite: unless NewTech offer an obvious advantage and is easy to adopt and use, why should I bother? And that’s before getting to vision issues and the fact that the gear looks big and ugly, so ugly that if there’s any uptake, it might help normalize N95 mask wearing. Reader input welcome.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

A perfectly ordinary woman enjoying a virtual immersion

“Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
—Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

We’re taking a short break from politics today to comment on Apple’s Next Big Thing.

First, consider that Apple is a fabulously cash-rich company. Next, that despite some earlier concern that iPhone sales would slow, Apple produced some very good iPhone sales numbers in 2023. By most accounts, the iPhone accounts for much of that cash.

Yet it’s been sixteen years since the iPhone changed the world. The iPhone 1 (called simply the “iPhone” then) was introduced by Steve Jobs in 2007. As a concept it’s been rightly called revolutionary, a must-have device. We call what we live in today a “smart phone world” for a reason.

But what has Apple done big since then, besides flood the market with phones? From the Economist in 2022:

In Apple’s flying-saucer-like headquarters in Cupertino, California, engineers are working on all manner of gadgets that might one day succeed the smartphone. But a big part of Apple’s future is already clear: a growing chunk of revenue and an even larger slice of profits will come not from any product, but from services.

Apple revenue 2012–2022 by segment

So despite the iPhone revenue growth in 2023 (which came largely from its more expensive products, implying upgrades), Apple needs, for its reputation’s sake, a Next Big Thing. Yes, its services business is growing and lucrative. But this description of its services strategy…

Apple’s business model “is evolving from maximising unit growth to maximising installed-base monetisation”, believes Erik Woodring of Morgan Stanley.

…doesn’t say “cutting-edge company,” which is Apple’s brand. (For a painful example of what “maximizing installed-base monetization” means in practice, read this from Ted Gioia. Predatorial stuff.)

While the Economist touts the wisdom of this shift by Apple to monetizing its installed base…

Consumers will doubtless keep buying Apple’s shiny gadgets. [But] From now on, when they do so, they will be acquiring not just swanky new devices for themselves but tiny digital storefronts for Apple.

…the article’s title suggests otherwise: “Apple already sold everyone an iPhone. Now what?”

What’s the next big hardware invention that will do what the iPhone did?

The ‘Swanky New Device’

Which brings us to the point of this post. Apple is about to release a “swanky new device” that some for a while have been calling its Next Big Thing. Meet the Apple Vision Pro.

It looks like a VR headset, and we have seen those. What’s new is the functionality — called “mixed reality” or “augmented reality” — built into it. Here’s one of Apple’s video demonstrations:

Notice the applications, or use-cases. First, Apple touts enhanced entertainment— like immersive panoramas (2:25 in the video just above) and room-size virtual movie screens (at 3:37). This does seem impressive.

Then there’s your workaday life (shown at 4:28). The sell here is that you’re freed from the monitor, which greatly increases the real estate your apps can spread into. Other features include immersive “experiences” that take over your physical space to create a meditation-inducing (or drug-fueled 2001-like) virtual environment.

Critiques of ‘Augmented Reality’ Devices

Several video YouTubers have already weighed in with comments and criticism. Many have in-video ads and other irrelevant material, so I won’t link to them. A search will turn them up. The best I’ve found is this one (“Apple Built The Vision Pro to FAIL, and it’s GENIUS”). The title is deceptive, but the points he makes, especially near the end, are good, well-considered.

If you don’t click through, the main points relate to the importance of people seeing your face — it’s a species thing — and the privacy concerns that helped kill Google Glasses.

It’s likely true that Apple is releasing a “midway” device, a concept definer, like the old Apple Lisa, and that the endpoint device is actual glasses that look like real eyeglasses and lay the virtual world over the physical world in an integrated way. To picture this, imagine walking around town with Google Streetview turned on in your virtual glasses. The crap that appears on your screen (sorry, Google) will appear in your world, integrated and laid over it, moving as you move, responding to your eye movements and gestures.

Yet even if “enhanced reality” devices succeed, what does that mean?

The Meaning and Future of ‘Enhanced Reality’

I want to make a number of points that no one seems to be making about these devices. I’ll do it in summary-style. Longer discussions may come later, but these points already seem nearly complete in themselves.

1. Notice who the “you” is in these Apple-produced presentations.

The “you” in every ad — for soap or cars — is the person the target viewer should identify with. To say that differently, the “you” character tells you who’s the target of the ad. For example, toilet paper ads contain a lot of characters, but “you” is often the mom. Finding the “you” in each ad is an interesting exercise.

Look at the “you” in these ads — the people wearing the goggles — and also the world they live in. “You” in these Apple ads is a multicultural, upper-middle-class, professional woman or man who lives in comfort. The “you” is either single or as in the first video above (“Introducing”), with children, either teenaged (shown at 1:18) or younger (at 2:00). The children are very well loved, and in both of these examples, the “you” is quite well turned out.

2. Note how often the word “experiences” is used. This whole world is, in essence, not about information, but about experiences, moments of pleasure. You don’t see “efficiency” sold in workplace sections of the ads. It’s all about the feel.

This is, in effect, a drug, more powerful than the social media drugs that keep people glued to their iPhones and Androids.

From the Star Trek Next Generation episode “The Game”

Reminds me of Neil Postman’s great book (and title) Amusing Ourselves to Death. Wikipedia’s description is as good as any:

Postman distinguishes the Orwellian vision of the future, in which totalitarian governments seize individual rights, from that offered by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, where people medicate themselves into bliss, thereby voluntarily sacrificing their rights.

3. Finally, consider the broader context. When climate-caused chaos strikes us with full force — large-scale migrations; collapsed economies; collapsed food and water supplies; wars and pandemics; governments that suddenly find they can help only the rich — how much new tech will be sold to people in that world?

We’re a planet of roughly eight billion. When two billion have died with more on the way, what’s Apple’s market then? What’s anyone’s, who’s not selling food and water? Will the people in these Apple ads — the comfortable, well turned out — even exist?

Selling High Tech Is Also a Political Act

Which leads me to my final point. I said at the start we’re “taking a short break from politics.” But in fact, I misspoke.

Everything Apple does is political, since its actions: a) distract from problems that will end technological life for thousands of years, and b) sell the idea that tech has superpowers, which means tech solutions to those problems can be counted on. Even its manufacturing is political.

So yes, think about Apple’s New Thing as the news rolls out. Consider the immersion experience as a pleasure to have. Dream of the day when that experience is yours.

But consider the context as well. It’s a drug delivery system that hides the future.

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  1. vao

    Our societies are aging, which also means lower visual acuity, widespread short-sightedness (are those rumours true, about people becoming short-sighted after years of peering at their smartphones?).

    I wonder whether those those physiological issues (on top of well-known problems with nausea-inducing artifacts) will be a significant impediment to the widespread adoption VR/AR headsets/glasses outside the demographics of young people.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I tend ot agree these will be so physically oppressive they will never go anywhere. Young people become old people. Though these products may be relatively successful, they do represent Apple as something of a fashion company. Smart phones aren’t the product of wunderkids in garages but predicted outcomes made possible by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. If the old TV signals were broadcasting, you wouldn’t be able to stream. Smart phones were what was being promised to policy makers. As Yves noted, smart phones offered clear conveniences.

      Apple won because it wasn’t quite Microsoft yet, determined to ruin Office amd was ahead of the phone companies who were involved with the construction of the infrastructure. Apple may be offering nifty gadgets, but the room for a revolutionary gadget is gone. There was a joke in The Office where coworkers suggest buying someone an IPod. Someone notes the intended target would already have one or doesn’t want one at this point.

      To me this is a point where the tech fashion companies are about to get knocked down. Zuckerberg has been pushing this for a while, but his old hot or not website doesn’t draw the kids anymore. These are gadgets, not laundry machines.

    2. t

      Those pictures make my neck hurt. And I’ve spent considerable time on horses in a heavy helmet, heavyish, anyway, so I have a tolerance for hat hair and a creased forehead.

  2. LB

    Isn’t this Apple’s TV… immersive virtual entertainment from Apple+ and Disney… more like the iPod experience no family stereo… personal music ? no need to fight the family for an 85” big screen… immerse yourselves in your personal front seat at football or Saving private Ryan … here let’s everyone in the family have one

  3. El Slobbo

    Several months ago the word of the day was to combine these things with AI chatbots that would analyze, for example, your date’s facial expressions and words while whispering into your ear suggestions for interacting more effectively: where to steer the conversation, etc.
    Tests have already been done for job interviews, where the questions themselves tend to be far more standard.
    I heard some early recordings of the tests: very painful to listen to.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Plato’s Cave! They just built themselves a tarted-up version of Plato’s cave. Perhaps this is just an early build but most of the functions of that device take place inside. No scenes of people using it skiing down the slopes of Gstaad or on a yacht at sea. I do wonder what functionality will be built into it in future version. Perhaps sensors that can read brain function and send that info to Apple’s servers for analysis. As Apple is turning themselves into a company that depends on financialization rather than building great technology, it would make sense. And any new device would be designed to provide data and money to Apple rather than what their customers actually want. Can hardly wait to see how this device is used in conjunction with Rule 34. But I will be honest here and say that from what I can see, mostly it is just a bunch of gimmicks and most people will have little use for them. Come to think of it, I recently came across a short video clip showing some places where you could use these things- (1:51 mins)

  5. YuShan

    “Apple’s business model is evolving from maximising unit growth to maximising installed-base monetisation” – In other words: you will be milked endlessly for all kind of fees. No thanks!

    I’m really hoping that people will revolt at some point against all these unnecessary monthly subscriptions for stuff that used to be one-off purchases that lasted for many years. Perhaps this will finally happen now that companies have taken this way too far already.

    1. i just don't like the gravy

      The global biosphere we depend on for survival is collapsing and you think the impetus for a revolt will be a glorified toy for PMC? Thanks for the laugh.

    2. Jabura Basaidai

      “Apple’s business model is evolving from maximising unit growth to maximising installed-base monetisation” – In other words: you will be milked endlessly for all kind of fees. No thanks!”

      that about sums up “customer/user experience” and i’m pretty tired of the word ‘experience’ describing anything –

  6. Trees&Trunks

    Ted Gioia – WTF!!!! Apple bought BIS? BIS is my favourite record label. Their recordings of Bach cantatas are wonderful stuff and now that stinky piece of brown aftermath Tim Cook owns that? Makes me sick.

    So does everything else Apple shat out since the iPhone. More expensive, less new functionalities, battery-life sucking software updates, more surveillance.

    For Bach-lovers and Bach-curious, listen to the sublime and ethereal performance of the cantatas and enjoy. Here the full collection

    Here is my favourite

  7. Alice X

    The impermanence of technological records concerns me. Papyrus scrolls needed to be recopied every four hundred years or so, before they crumbled. Paper succumbs to time. They could be read by humans, though sometimes the language itself was lost. Digital material also needs to be recopied and thus it needs to be read, by machines. The machines or the software to do the reading may have lapsed. I have computer records from the eighties, nineties even aughts that I can no longer access due to hardware or software problems. What to do?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Digital media won’t even last a century but actual books will last for centuries if the right paper/parchment is used. Realistically we may be reduced to baked, clay tablets. We have ones surviving that are over 4,000 years old from Sumeria. Of course that raises the question of what should be recorded for preservation and with what priority-

      1. Acacia

        Man, any digital media that lasts even half a century would be incredible.

        DVDR media will likely go tilt after 15 years. The blue dye fades. HDDs might last longer, but… they are incredibly fragile.

        35mm film can be preserved for over a century if conditions are strictly controlled, but some color films will succumb to the dreaded vinegar disease.

      2. Jabura Basaidai

        hardcover books are the best – have an 1897 first edition Mark Twain’s “Following The Equator” and it is heavy, well bound, doesn’t appear to have suffered from being 127 years old – was paper acid free then?

  8. Pavel

    For those who boggle at the price, recall how Tim Cook tried to peddle the first-generation Apple Watch in a gold version for what, $16,000? And it couldn’t be upgraded. There’s a sucker born every minute.

    I expect the novelty value of these will wear off very quickly and they will join the gold Watches as expensive and heavy paperweights. But lord knows I’ve been wrong before…

    1. vao

      Those luxury Apple Watches were not just unupgradable, they were officially declared “obsolete” by Apple in Autumn 2023, and are therefore unmaintanable, and thus unusable. People paid 10000-16000 bucks for a gadget that worked a few years.

      Before Apple Watch, there were the Vertu phones. Anyone remember them?

      1. Reply

        One joy of aging is no longer wearing a watch. If I need to find out the time, there are other sources, or I move on. If someone checks out my wrist for a wealth display, they’ll be disappointed. Oh, well, guess I can live with that.

    2. Arizona Slim

      ISTR that, back in the 1980s, those Apple Macintosh computers with the teeny-tiny screens cost $10,000 each.

      I used to take a lunch break walk past a store that sold them. No way was I going to pay that much for a computer, but, obviously, other people did.

      1. Jonhoops

        Sorry but the 1984 Mac was only around $3000. Maybe you are thinking of the Lisa which was aimed at business owners and was a flop.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I was taking these walks while I worked at the University of Pittsburgh in 1986-87. May very well have been the Lisa, but I don’t recall. What I do recall is the eye-popping price of the thing.

      2. Alice X

        In December of 1984 I got a used Mac for $800. Of course in those days you learned of such things via newsprint. A young student had it for sale, he had gotten it for a deal, maybe paid for by his folks and so was just blowing it off. I drove like a bat out of hell to get there. After I had snagged it and was walking out to my car, the second taker was just pulling up. Score one for the girl. It had 128k (as in kilobytes!) of RAM. Today it wouldn’t power a sundial, much less my phone.

  9. griffen

    This is strictly a tangential line to string into this but Netflix made a big announcement yesterday morning about hosting a live entertainment product on their streaming services. Beginning in 2025, they will be hosting the WWE..”If you smell what the Rock is cooking…”

    Point to make, they could acquire a struggling low tier streaming service ( Paramount+ maybe ) and then make a further push into streaming of live sports and live entertainment. I could conceive this being a winner within the next 5 to 7 years, as still more consumers try to break away from being cable dependent.

  10. Chris Smith

    At least google glass was (were?) eye glasses. Apple built a giant dork helmet that I’m supposed to walk around in? Maybe the point is that as real life turns into endless immiseration, we can strap on our dork helmets and tune out. In fact, that could be the “you” of the ad. You’re some workaday schlub, but once you strap on the dork helmet your visual field will be filled with images that make you experience life as though you are that urban sophisticate upper-middle class person you aspire to be. Now back to work peasant so that you can afford the subscription.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ooof, I should have thought about the “walk around” point. The helmet is an invitation to be mugged. I took a course by the guy who designed and had taught the Navy Seals’ hand to hand combat program. He said never wear earbuds outdoors, they reduce your situational awareness and make you a crime target. This would be worse because the distraction would be worse and the helmet signals “monied”.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I don’t think it’s intended for you to walk around with (as David below points out, there’s even a wire, although reviews suggest that’s for an external battery pack). They seem to be marketing it as a home entertainment option, something you use while sitting on your couch. That’s probably sensible because the walk-around aspect of Google Glass was problematic and creepy for a number of reasons (the “glassholes” thing) and a big factor in its failure.

        Here’s a review that positions it as an entrant in the VR headset space, which I think is accurate – much as they’d like to present it as something revolutionary, I think it’s squarely in the “something that already exists but better/more polished” category. Conclusion is that it’s an impressive effort but doesn’t escape the issues that have kept VR headsets a niche market to date. For example:

        I thought back to that 3D video that initially wowed me: It showed a child blowing out their birthday candles and having fun with their siblings. But to take that video, a parent had to be wearing the Vision Pro headset, effectively separating themselves from fully experiencing that moment.

        It also costs $3500. VR headsets are a declining market, dominated by Meta who have an almost 10 year head start with their acquired Oculus tech, which they sell for under $500. Reports I’ve seen put market penetration at around 15% or so in the US and I struggle to see it climbing much higher than that, given the inherent limitations compared to smartphones.

    2. Michael.j

      The other significant reason this will fall flat on its face is that most interpersonal communications is non verbal, such as picking up facial cues such as raised eye brows, smiles, frowns, smirks etc.

      Other than the privacy issues others, how popular would you (the wearer) be if you cannot, nor the person you’re interacting, cannot communicate non verbally? At best it’s a world of everyone wearing sun glasses.

      This is just stupid.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I look forward to people walking around enjoying their “enhanced reality” coming face to face with actual reality, perhaps in the form of bus barreling down the street they’re crossing without paying attention.

  11. Jams O'Donnell

    “3. Finally, consider the broader context. When climate-caused chaos strikes us with full force — large-scale migrations; collapsed economies; collapsed food and water supplies; wars and pandemics; governments that suddenly find they can help only the rich — how much new tech will be sold to people in that world?

    We’re a planet of roughly eight billion. When two billion have died with more on the way, what’s Apple’s market then? What’s anyone’s, who’s not selling food and water? Will the people in these Apple ads — the comfortable, well turned out — even exist?”

    This point can’t be repeated enough.

    1. arthur bryant

      Agreed. And your two billion die-off estimate is generous. Mearns, “The world’s expected carrying capacity in a post industrial agrarian society,” The Oil Drum (Nov 1, 2007) estimates the carrying capacity to be 2-4 billion–if we live like Pakistani farmers. If we want to have a standard of living equivalent to that of the U.S. (circa 1970), Hulett estimates the world could support 1 billion or less (BioScience, 20(3): 160 (1970)).

      “but we must not forget to sing in the life boats”

  12. sfglossolalia

    They really seem incapable of grasping that 99.99% of people don’t want to strap a device to their faces.

  13. Tom Pfotzer

    I’m delighted to hear people draw the contrast between the comfortable cocoon .vs. the real world.

    This is the pivot point; one path leads away from adaptation (change the apparent environment in order to remain comfortable), and the other path – facing the reality that actually exists and coping with it – has way more promise.

    That path, however, is much more difficult to traverse. That’s why people avoid it if possible.

    The problem with Apple, and Google, and Facebook, and the rest of the consumer companies is that they monetize consumption and emotional comfort. “You deserve a break today”.

    There really isn’t a lot of wealth extraction to be accomplished by equipping people to think, to adapt, to self-educate, and to create. Those kind of people don’t consume nearly so much; on the contrary, they create. Not consume, but produce. Not follow, but lead themselves.

    From a wealth-extraction perspective, those kind of people are anathema.

    So that’s why I advocate so often for the creator instinct. Support for that instinct is never going to happen top-down; it’s antithetical to the interests of the wealth-extractors and current social-order maintenance crew (e.g. the “deep state”).

    My plan for escaping the loving embrace of the cocoon is to invest heavily in my own creative powers.

    Yes, I embrace all manner of technology. But it’s technology I design, I create, I own, I understand. That technology works for _me_. It solves the problems that _I_ think are important.

  14. LY

    Maybe the endpoint is augmented reality contact lenses? The iPod, iPhone, and iPad can be thought as an iterations of the same idea. So first the headset, then glasses.

    Apple has the global worldwide streaming rights for Major League Soccer. Apple is using that to try out some things.

    Apple is also making its own cellular modem chips, to cut out some of the money that goes to Qualcomm. That effort has been taking longer than hoped.

  15. kengferno

    For an entertaining, yet thorough look at what our augmented reality future might be like, I’d recommend Vernor Vinge’s award winning book Rainbows End which is a disturbingly realistic look at what life in a few years might be like. There’s no big advancements, no world shattering tech developments, just the slow evolutionary creep of tech into our lives and continued erosion of rights. But, it’s funny and interesting with a great story.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Great book – another scifi guy who saw it all coming.

      When I read it right when it came out, I couldn’t really grok what he was getting it. I sure do now.

  16. Fred

    The success of these devices depends on porn. It made VHS a winner over Beta, and a huge percentage of the internet is porn.

  17. Lefty Godot

    What will become of this V1.0 device long-term really depends on what applications are created for it. Which will come mostly from outside companies, not from Apple (although I’m sure they will have some decent ones). People are glued to their phones now because of the apps, not because the phone itself is a glamorous piece of tech. It’s like the internet, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not the dystopian addiction machine that it is now. Developers first had to create social media websites, and then some companies designing social media had to include the features (including algorithms) that made everything addictive and polarizing. So unlike the iPod, this isn’t going to create a lot of new business for Apple in the first couple of years.

    In other news, Microsoft, a company that has been producing mostly awful, insecure dreck for years, just hit a market valuation of $3 trillion. Because they put ads in the Start menu. Or something.

  18. David in Friday Harbor

    Thanks for the laughs! I watched 3 minutes of the cringe-inducing Apple video for context before reading the post. My first thought: It’s a DRUG! You can trust me, I know a fair bit about drugs from both personal and professional experience. Great minds think alike.

    My second thought: What is the only thing that Tim Cook and I have in common? We wear EYEGLASSES! How in the name of Pete am I going to tolerate those ski-goggles over my progressive bifocals? Not a chance!

    My third thought: Those awful things require a cable to work — they’re not wireless. You’re not even walking around the room, let alone down the street. You’re stuck in Tim Cook’s version of the Google Glasses/Metaverse.

    The icons and apps are the exact same things as we already use in iOS or MacOS. They’ve been trying to build a better mouse-and-keyboard for decades, and this is all that they’ve been able to come up with. The problem is that there’s not a camera invented that can accurately track our eye movements and hand gestures when we’re at our desks or on our couches. They have to strap the camera onto our heads. I’d get claustrophobia wearing that contraption.

    I also couldn’t help but notice the Apple-employee-centric casting. I think that the two well-off young women on the white sofa are probably in San Francisco on H-1B’s escaping the coming dystopia…

    1. digi_owl

      Yep, input had not refined much of the decades. In some ways it seems to even retard in recent times. Even the GUI was decried as a “point and grunt” interface when it was introduced, and perhaps they were right.

      I keep hearing about students reaching college without understanding how a computer file system works, thanks to them using smartphones and like for schoolwork. Compare and contrast the notion from a few decades back where they talked about kids knowing more about computers than their parents.

  19. elissa3

    No. No. No.

    I adjusted to and tolerated (then) difficult-to-use contact lens in the late 1960s because I didn’t want something perched on my nose that separated my visual apparatus from reality.

    The audience for this device will be limited as per the many very astute comments here. I would add that I perceive a contrarian trend right now, with some not insignificant number of people embracing more sensual/tactile experiences over the digital. We are, after all, flesh and blood bipeds, and the evolution of our physical beings is a very slow process–like thousands of years slow. “Psychically”, faster, for sure; but the body imposes limits. Too far outside the boundaries and we will all go nuts.

    I’d thought that the Next Big Thing would be actual brain implants, but with the current state of our healthcare “system” that might be a step too far.

    1. Oh

      Knowing our “healthcare” system, they’ll probably plant it in the wrong place for a mere $1 million.

  20. JCC

    A couple of personal points (and a good opportunity to promote a site I think most here would really like):

    1) I read Ted Gioia’s piece and thought it was interesting but not really new information. Pop music, for example, has gotten more and more generic ever since the rush of the ’30’s thru ’80’s new, explorative, popular music. Apple’s move (and I end to agree with Ted Gioia’s take on this) is just following a pattern that has existed for quite some time. For people older than 50 or 60, I think most of them would agree that as far as pop music is concerned, there is little difference between late 60’s rock and today’s country.

    Although I do use youtube on occasion when looking for a specific song or classic music piece not in my music library, the ads have gotten so intrusive it’s become painful to listen to more than one song at a time. And the paid-for subscription music services aren’t much better.

    I, myself, rely on streaming services readily available from sites themselves, particularly those that don’t flood the bandwidth with 2 or 3 minutes of useless commercials between music pieces. One streaming site I have found that is top notch for exploration and available through a browser as well as Apple and Android listening apps is Not only can you save favorite stations but you can explore the entire world. You may not have control of what plays next, but the variety of what is available, many commercial free, is astounding. Streaming sites like KCEA for Big Band, Radio Dismuke for early Jazz and pop from the 1930’s era, Planet Pootwaddle, a commercial free rock/pop station playing songs from the 50’s through today and similar to what early rock FM was like (a discovery of new artists and styles – and coincidentally the oldest internet music streaming site out of Burbank in this country, classical music stations galore, Radio Goldfield out of Goldfield NV for real cowboy, Country and Western, and even “Old Time Radio” radio plays where the usual commercials are from the same era (fun and interesting as a look at how much more sophisticated propaganda has become over the years). Foreign (non-english) stations, too. And not a dime goes into Google’s or Apple’s too-deep pockets. Just a few donations here and there to the best of the bunch is all I, happily, pay.

    2) One thing not really shown or addressed in the videos shown here is that mini-computer you have to drag around on a cord attached to this headset. Yuck. And my only experience with these things is the earlier one put out by Meta/Facebook. It appears that the Apple version is more sophisticated, but I couldn’t help feeling a little trapped, and the initial vertigo was very unpleasant. As many have pointed out here, using this outside would not be very enhancing. Smart Phones are more than intrusive enough for me. If they become more than a fad, I feel sorry for those who buy into it, at least those that can afford a $3500.00 enhanced smart phone.

  21. digi_owl

    Apple is a weird one. As a Norwegian i had scarcely heard about he company, never mind seen a Mac in use, before the iPod happened. And even then i am convinced it only really took off once Apple ported iTunes to Windows and released a model that used USB rather than Firewire.

    And everything since seems to have hinged on that moment when Apple went from computers to consumer electronics. iPhone for example was a response to the increasing capability of featurephones to play media, and was effectively a drop in replacement for the iPod (there was even an iPod Touch that was a iPhone without the mobile radio). I dear say in terms of thinking about “smartphones”, the iPhone rolled the clock back a decade.

    The big win for Apple was that Jobs was able to turn that logo into a lifestyle brand, same as say the Nike swoosh.

  22. Michael

    I don’t think the “You” the videos are targeting is the person.

    I think the “You” is the device manufacturers.

    This is Apple parking their tanks on the lawns of the TV, Automotive, Computing, Wearables, Games, etc. device manufacturers and saying – I OWN THIER EYES!!! You want Access? Well… There’s a Goodfellas quote for that.

    Watch the videos from the device manufacturers perspective – “Hey, there’s no “insert device here” in that house/apartment/office/car!”

    $3,500 – I can make an economic argument for why that’s cheap – if this is (eventually – Version 4.0) my TV/Car’s HUD/2nd & 3rd monitor/Home Immersion Tank/Games Console/etc all rolled into one.

    The only problem is “Apple eyeOS” is now the gatekeeper to all these devices.

    If I was a TV/Cinema/Car/Games/etc executive watching these videos I’d be wondering why I’m putting all these money into custom OSes if there’s a future where I also then need to pay to get on the eyeOS platform.

    I don’t ever see myself buying something like this – but I can see a world where having a monopoly on the eyeOS can make this device become a reality.

  23. Savita

    In item 1
    what does ‘well turned out’ mean? Thats a ballet expression. It can’t mean well dressed because its already stated the ‘Me’ is upper middle class and sophisticated.

    Well I read all the comments and no one stated the first thing that came to my thoughts. Mind control / brainwashing / indoctrination however subtle. The tech is ripe for it.

    We already knew about the cathode ray of the television being able to project information, bypassing the filter of the concious mind.
    We know television content like sitcoms were (are?) deliberately designed as social engineering. I just mention this to contextualise indoctrination and persuasion as utterly prosaic.

    There are multiple quotes by Silly Con executives or programmers describing the deliberately addictive or indoctrinating (sic) potential of the software or hardware they produce. The topic has been covered here at NC.
    IIRC Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his kids use his products

    So, I say, expect esoteric and nefarious intent hard wired into this so-called next big thing

          1. Pat

            Turn out is from ballet not turned. Turn out being a description of the open position of feet and hips. The signifier is good, not well. At least in my experience as a terrible ballet student and lifelong fan of dance.

            I can see how they night get confused, but they are most certainly two different phrases.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I took ballet and I am not the one who EVER suggested it came from ballet. That was a reader idea.

              But when terminology slips into popular use, it regularly gets distorted. “Negative feedback loop” is often incorrectly used to describe processes where the (presumed bad) effects intensify, when in fact a negative feedback loop is self-dampening. Another example is “reign in” as opposed to the correct “rein in”, from riding.

      1. Skip Intro

        I have definitely heard about ‘being turned out’ as a description of the way the (modern) dance students walked and stood with their feet at 45°, like it was time for a plié. Once sensitized, I could pick out the Dance students from 50 meters. I have also heard it for being well / attractively dressed, and I think being ‘turned out’ was also jargon from the pimp Escort Management Industry, for the employee’s debut assignment and first career path step. (cf. American Pimp, IIRC)

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