Apple Inc teased its metaverse ambitions on Thursday as CEO Tim Cook mentioned plans to expand the company’s augmented reality (AR) apps.
In response to a question about its plans for the metaverse, Cook said:”We see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly.” The company has 14,000 AR apps on its App Store, and Cook suggested this number will rise with further investment.
His comments helped drive Apple stock up nearly 5% in after-hours trade.
Although analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg have reported Apple plans to introduce an AR headset by this or next year with glasses to follow later, the company has not yet officially acknowledged these plans.
In the same vein, Cook noted that Apple’s research and development efforts are focused on the intersection of hardware, software and services.
“That’s where the magic really happens,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of investment going into things that are not on the market at this point.”
An AR device could open many opportunities to grow subscriptions. Existing offerings for fitness workouts and video content could grow more attractive through immersive AR experiences.
Analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research said metaverse-related services, such as AR apps, could flip Apple’s revenue mix.
“There is a significant upside to Apple’s services business potentially crossing its iPhone in the next five years,” Shah said.