Why Tim Cook has got it wrong on augmented reality vs. the metaverse by@therealsjr
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Why Tim Cook has got it wrong on augmented reality vs. the metaverse

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Tim Cook favors augmented reality as the next significant technological shift. Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I'm really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is" The global AR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.4% from 2022 to 2030. One new app combines AR with the Metaverse/Web3 and is backed by some heavy firepower, including former pro skater Lev Levimonov and former YouTube execs from Snap, Snap, Google.

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Stewart Rogers

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Apple's Tim Cook is one of many metaverse detractors, but it is no surprise that he favors augmented reality (AR) as the next significant technological shift.

"I always think it's important that people understand what something is," the Apple CEO told Dutch publication Bright on Friday. "And I'm really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is."

Other big names calling out the metaverse and promoting AR all have the same thing in common: their companies are expected to launch AR solutions soon, and they compete with the loudest kid in the metaverse playground, Meta.

You don't have to be a budding Sherlock Holmes to see those speaking publicly about AR versus the metaverse tend to side with whichever horse their company decided to back.

And the point made about people understanding a technology seems illogical at best. I don't need to understand Kotlin, Javascript, or AI algorithms to rent an e-scooter, order food, or watch an endless stream of people lip-syncing in front of a ring light. I simply need to hear about a cool app that makes my life better, download it, and use it.

Put a different way, Pokemon Go was the app that made AR a mainstream topic, and I don't need to understand AR to catch 'em all.

But not only is AR versus the metaverse yet another example of binary thinking, causing polarization and division, but it's also missing the point. AR and the metaverse are best served together, like macaroni and cheese.

While many analysts separate the two when preparing their market size reports and forecasts, Grand View Research understands that when looking at the future of the metaverse, it should include AR, VR, MR, and all associated technologies.

According to Grand View, the global metaverse market size was estimated at $38.85 billion in 2021. It is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% from 2022 to 2030.

But all of this is moot unless we, the users, get apps that can make a positive difference in our daily lives.

I looked at what the post-Pokemon AR world had to offer. There are some exciting and engaging offerings, including real-time navigation in airports, measuring body size and shape for custom clothingdesigning and engineering buildings, and even detecting and battling wildfires.

However, one new app combines AR with the metaverse/Web3 and is backed by some heavy firepower.

ShredSpots is a street sports app designed for those who love skateboarding, rollerblading, BMX, parkour, snowboarding, and other similar activities.

Founded by former pro skater Lev Filimonov and with an executive team that includes former YouTube, Snap, and Google execs, the app consists of features such as a community-driven street sports map and the ability to upload your tricks so others can see your skills in action.

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ShredSpots differs from other street sports map apps because it is soon to include AR features, and by building the app with Web3 in mind, the future possibilities go way beyond what you could offer by adding AR alone.

The upcoming AR addition will allow users to see other users' tricks where they were performed, using your smartphone as the viewing device (and, one would assume, in AR smart glasses at some point).

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That's cool, but by combining AR and Web3, ShredSpots can offer users a whole raft of additional benefits. Imagine being able to monetize your skills and earn for sick tricks, or being able to immerse yourself in a world of street culture, with original street art and more presented to you as you look at the world through ShredSpots and your smartphone camera. I imagine the team has several ideas that combine all the latest technologies, including NFTs.

ShredSpots is an excellent example of a team that understands there is no AR vs. metaverse - the two are complimentary, help both sides to gain mainstream acceptance and adoption, and - most importantly - should not even be highlighted in the first place. The most important thing is not the technology we build these experiences on but the experience itself.

So if you want to take advantage of the hockey-stick growth analysts expect in Web3, AR, the metaverse, and other related technologies, be like ShredSpots. Design a fantastic app that works, appeal to a broad audience, and make it easy for them to use and understand. Tim Cook is right about that part. He's just wrong about making this a them vs. us thing.

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