While Meta pours billions into CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pitch for the metaverse, Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks most people can’t even define the metaverse, let alone spend their lives in it for a long time.
“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is,” Cook told Dutch publication Bright (via Google Translate). “And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.” In other words, despite continued reports of Apple’s interest in building all sorts of AR and VR hardware, Cook isn’t ready to claim the company is working on a so-called “metaverse.”
Mark Zuckerberg has a different opinion. Earlier this year, the Meta CEO told his employees that the company is in “very deep, philosophical competition” with Apple to build the metaverse. “This is a competition of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and integrating closely, they can build a better consumer experience,” Zuckerberg said. Contrary to what he says, Apple’s closed approach is with the more interoperable development of Meta.
“I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is”
Cook also expressed his skepticism that people will want to spend longer periods of time in VR in the future. “[VR is] something you can completely immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way. But I don’t think you want to live your whole life that way,” he said Bright. “VR is for certain periods, but not a way to communicate well.”
Cook’s comments make him the latest high-profile CEO to voice skepticism about the metaverse. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told the guard that the company avoids using the term because it’s “quite ambiguous and hypothetical,” and that if you asked a room of people to define it, all of their definitions would be “completely different.” Meanwhile, Amazon’s head of devices, David Limp, recently said that if he asked a “few hundred people what they thought the metaverse was, we’d get 205 different answers” and that there is no “common definition” of the term.