CEO Tim Cook says Apple avoids the word 'metaverse' because the average person doesn't know what it means — a stark contrast to rival Facebook
Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed in an exclusive interview with Dutch media outlet Bright that the tech giant's hesitancy toward joining the metaverse hype is intentional.
"I always think it's important that people understand what something is. And I'm really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is," Cook told the outlet.
The metaverse is a term derived from science-fiction and refers to a hypothetical version of a three-dimensional internet accessed via immersive technologies rather than 2D screens.
The word "metaverse" was only mentioned once on Apple earnings calls so far this year, compared to 36 mentions on Meta earnings calls. Despite the buzz word's explosive usage across the industry, executives are divided on whether the metaverse represents a real product — like virtual reality — or if it's just a concept for a virtual world that may never actually exist.
However, Mark Zuckerberg told staff in July that Meta is in "deep, philosophical competition" with Apple to build the metaverse.
Following Facebook's name change and announcement last fall that it would invest $10 billion into building the so-called metaverse, the iPhone maker stood out from the wider tech industry in its apparent refusal to join Mark Zuckerberg's latest obsession.
Instead, Apple has focused its emerging tech investment specifically on Augmented Reality.
When an analyst asked Cook this January about Apple's role in the metaverse space, he responded that Apple is "always exploring new and emerging technologies" and pointed to the company's 14,000 AR kit apps in the App Store.
"I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything," Cook told Bright in the interview published Friday, adding that virtual reality is not a way to "live your whole life."
"It's something you can really immerse yourself in. And that can be used in a good way," he said. "VR is for regular periods, but not a way to communicate well. So I'm not against it, but that's how I look at it."