The opening day of CES 2024 witnessed a flurry of product launches, notably Sony Corp’s surprising entry into the mixed reality headset arena. Tailored for spatial content creators, the headset is anticipated to hit the market later this year. Simultaneously, Apple revealed that its flagship spatial computing headset, the Vision Pro, showcased last year, will be available for purchase in early February. While Sony currently offers VR headsets for gaming applications, the latest release features several innovations where it competes directly with Apple, according to the Technology Foresights model by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The landscape of spatial computing, and more broadly, metaverse technology, has experienced a deceleration in innovation trends, with a significant part of advancements led by only a few major tech players such as Meta Platforms, Sony, and Microsoft. Despite an initial perception of a late entry, Apple has demonstrated a consistent and accelerating commitment to innovation in this domain, as evidenced by insights from the Technology Foresights model.
The peer comparison module within the Technology Foresights model offers a detailed exploration of specific innovation areas, plotting Apple and Sony’s key metaverse innovations on proprietary metrics—innovation impact and innovation focus.
Sourabh Nyalkalkar, Practice Head of Innovation Products at GlobalData comments: “The intense competition between Sony and Apple in crucial metaverse technologies like foveated rendering, 3D virtual walkthroughs, and real-time rendering is quite revealing. Sony, having a background in gaming tech, has been working on these innovations for a while. However, what’s particularly fascinating is that Apple rapidly caught up and emerged as a leader in these areas in a comparatively short period.”
The metaverse innovation landscape of both competitors clearly indicates that their product offerings are intended for broader applications beyond gaming, which has traditionally been the primary focus for AR/VR headsets. As they delve into innovations like AR-assisted measurements and bio-responsive VR, it suggests that the resulting products are likely to find applications in various industrial settings.
Sony’s innovation landscape also hints at a focus on spatial headsets for healthcare, with activity in AR-guided medical interventions and medical imaging innovations within the metaverse innovation landscape.
Sourabh concludes: “As Apple and Sony gear up for a tight tech competition in the spatial computing realm, keeping an eye on the upcoming moves of established contenders in this space, namely Microsoft and Meta Platforms, becomes an intriguing prospect. Both companies have a history of introducing products to the market and a proven track record of innovating within the metaverse, as evidenced on the Technology Foresights platform.”