The Virtual Reality The (VR) market is still in its infancy, but it has the potential to become an important part of the broader technology space as the consumer and enterprise market size reaches an estimated US$25 billion in less than three years from now.
Two companies stand a good chance of successfully tapping into this growing market Microsoft (MSFT 2.30%) And the apple (AAPL 1.88%). these tech giants They are already knee-deep in virtual and augmented reality (AR) in their own way, and could end up taking advantage of their early moves. Here’s why.
Microsoft headset bet
Like many other tech companies right now, Microsoft has its own AR/VR headset. But unlike many of its counterparts, Microsoft’s headphones, called Hololens, are already used in real-world applications.
industrial manufacturers And healthcare companies have used Hololens to train employees, and so far Hololens already has 200 partner device apps, in addition to Microsoft’s own apps.
But the most notable use case for Hololens to date has been for the US military. Microsoft currently has a contract worth about $22 billion to deliver 120,000 Hololens to the Armed Services Division, and recently sent its first shipment of 5,000 to the Army.
These devices are a modified version of Hololens called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), and can take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services to monitor and display specific sensor data.
Of course, Microsoft isn’t just interested in deploying Hololens to the armed services, but this initial request shows that there are practical uses for the device and that Microsoft is already receiving potentially large contracts for its headphones — something most tech companies can’t claim right now.
Not only that, but if Microsoft can showcase how well its Azure cloud services pair with its headset, future uses of Hololens could be a boon for the company’s already successful cloud computing service.
Apple’s ambitions for augmented reality
Apple has already made some headway in the AR/VR space with the company pushing to bring augmented reality apps to its App Store. There are already more than 14,000 AR apps running on the company’s mobile operating system — and it’s likely that Apple is just getting started.
The company is said to be working on an AR/VR headset that has already been shown to its board of directors. This indicates that Apple can be severe About to launch the devicealthough it remains uncertain when it will do so.
Apple is particularly adept at pairing software with hardware. And another indication of a headset’s imminent launch comes from the fact that the leaked source code showed the tech giant is working on what it calls RealityOS, which is most likely a reference to the AR/VR operating system.
If Apple launched its own headphones, some analysts have estimated that the company could generate up to $18 billion in headphone sales just five years after its launch.
Some of the latest estimates point to Apple’s AR/VR headset launching at the end of this year or next, meaning investors may not have to wait any longer to see Apple take over this market head-on.
Be patient with this market
While there is a lot of potential for Microsoft and Apple to take advantage of AR and VR, investors will likely have the patience to try it out.
These parts of the tech world are just getting started, and it may be a few years before Microsoft and Apple see any direct benefit to their profits.