The "metaverse" is the latest buzzword in the technology sector. It's about erasing the boundaries between the real world and the virtual world while creating a multibillion-dollar market for companies to tap into. Emergen Research estimates that the metaverse could generate close to $829 billion in revenue by 2028, clocking a compound annual growth rate of 43% over that long run.
When looking for great ways to tap into this huge opportunity, consider what Apple (AAPL 1.98%) is doing. The tech giant is reportedly working on a device that could help millions of people experience the metaverse.
Let's look closely at Apple's metaverse plans and see why it could win big in this market.
Why headsets will be critical for the metaverse's growth
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)-enabled headsets will open the window to the metaverse for consumers willing to experience this new technology. That's because they create a virtual world (in the case of a VR headset) or merge the virtual and real worlds (in the case of AR headsets). These headsets are likely to be the first point of contact for anyone looking to get into the metaverse, whether it be to work, play, or study.
Not surprisingly, the demand for such headsets is expected to go through the roof. Market research firm IDC forecasts that sales of VR headsets could increase from an estimated 8 million units in 2021 to 29 million units in 2025. Meanwhile, sales of AR headsets are expected to jump to 21 million headsets in 2025 from just 1 million units this year.
The research firm points out that the headset market's growth will be driven by the adoption of new applications such as virtual fitness classes or other events, in addition to gaming. The good news is that Apple is reportedly preparing to take advantage of this huge opportunity.
Apple's headsets could dominate the AR/VR market
Ming-Chi Kuo, a noted analyst covering Apple for financial services provider TF International Securities, says (via 9to5Mac) that the iPhone maker could launch its first-generation AR/VR headset next year. According to Kuo, Apple's headset is likely to integrate both AR and VR functions into a single device. He adds that the first-generation headsets are likely to be powered by a high-end chip and could come equipped with high-resolution displays.
The analyst estimates that Apple could ship 2.5 million to 3.5 million of these headsets in 2023. However, things could get better the following year, as the tech titan is expected to launch a second-generation headset in the second half of 2024. The updated headset is expected to be powered by a faster processor while being lighter and carrying more battery life.
Apple is expected to ship 10 million units of the second-generation headset after its launch, which means that it could capture a fifth of the overall AR/VR headset market by 2025, based on IDC's total shipment estimates of 50 million units. What's more, Apple's headsets are expected to have a starting price of $1,000, according to Kuo, so this new product line could generate billions of dollars in revenue in the next four years.
More importantly, the AR/VR market could consistently drive strong growth at Apple in the long run, as this space is expected to clock a 43% annual growth rate through 2030, according to a third-party report. It isn't surprising to hear that Apple is interested in this market: It could open a new growth avenue for the company and complement Apple's other catalysts. All this makes Apple a top tech stock to buy to take advantage of the emerging metaverse opportunity.