Apple store in Chengdu, China.
Apple store in Chengdu, China.
Image: Zhiyue/Unsplash

By now you’ve read all about Apple’s WWDC22 (Worldwide Developers Conference 2022) announcements on pretty much every news and tech site on the planet, and while there’s good reason to be excited about iOS 16, the new M2 chip, the redesigned MacBook Air and MacOS Ventura, it’s worth taking a step back from the hype and taking a look at the bigger picture and what it says about the future of the world’s most valuable company.

When Steve Jobs announced his resignation as Apple’s CEO there were many concerns that the company wouldn’t survive without him. By choosing Tim Cook — a man who for many years had been viewed by the public as the “supply-chain guy” — as his successor, Jobs had placed the future of his company in the hands of someone who would stabilise it after his death, which had more immediate importance than rampant innovation.

Unsurprisingly, this proved to be a wise decision, as Cook not only stabilised the company, but also led it to become the first US company to reach a $3-trillion valuation.

Tim Cook greets developers at WWDC22.
Tim Cook greets developers at WWDC22.
Image: apple.com

The company’s vast cash reserves combined with its unwaveringly slow and steady approach to innovation has put it in a position where it not only has a staid, trustworthy reputation, but also the solid foundation needed to start building out its offerings and move into more innovative and exciting fields.

Unlike Amazon, which has historically sold its Kindle hardware at a loss in order to lure customers into its ecosystem and thereby recoup that lost revenue from sales of a variety of services, Apple has historically made between 50%-70% of its revenue off sales of the iPhone alone.

While Apple continues to make exorbitant amounts from the sale of its hardware, it’s begun branching out into SaaS (software-as-a-service).

Over the past year, we’ve seen the impact of the global chipset shortage and manufacturing and production cuts affecting everything from gaming consoles to cars.

While Apple hasn’t been immune to this, it’s seen the least impact of any tech company because of its prescience many years ago to ensure that it controls as much of its supply chain as it can.

Not only does that mean Apple is able to meet significant demand for new products every release cycle, it also reinforces the image of a brand that’s stable, reliable and trustworthy. And that image is of crucial importance as the company prepares to bring us a mixed-reality world.

Developers watch the unveiling of M2, beginning the next generation of Apple silicon designed specifically for the Mac, at Apple Park.
Developers watch the unveiling of M2, beginning the next generation of Apple silicon designed specifically for the Mac, at Apple Park.
Image: apple.com

While we may not have seen the rumoured AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) glasses at WWDC, we do know that the company has been improving the AR capabilities of its devices and bills itself as having “the world’s largest AR platform” with offerings from Ikea, Minecraft and more.

VR, unlike AR, has been mostly used in gaming, a space that Apple hasn’t made any significant moves in until its recent WWDC announcement that “Apple silicon enables every new Mac to run AAA games with ease”. While most gamers are (justifiably) excited about Capcom’s Resident Evil Village coming to Mac, it’s the fact that No Man’s Sky will be coming to both Mac and iPad that has more significance. Playable in VR, No Man’s Sky has a loyal following and is a significantly large enough title to ensure that Apple’s rumoured foray into VR is successful when it invariably launches its mixed-reality glasses.

If a digital world is inevitable, the question you need to ask is who do you trust with your future?

Apple’s recent moves with the M1 and M2 series chips were not only invaluable for the company’s move into gaming, as well as supercharging the Mac line to unprecedented levels, it also ensures Apple is able to build a seamless hardware and software experience for both existing and future devices.

Its foray into gaming and subscription-based services ensures that it has something for everyone in the virtual world, and its merging of operating systems makes it easier to ensure that not only will future products play well together but that you’ll continue to get the same familiar experience you’re used to.

This digital future doesn’t exclusively refer to the metaverse, but rather to a continued digitisation of tasks, processes and interactions from our daily lives. This encompasses everything from healthcare — a space that Apple has been increasingly ambitious in since the launch of the Apple Watch and expanded on with its WatchOS 9 and iOS 16 announcements — to digitising identity documents, understanding your spending habits and controlling your payment information, learning your driving habits and behaviours, how you communicate with your friends and family and how you interact with your smart home.

Tim Cook presents the new MacBook Air to the press at Steve Jobs Theater.
Tim Cook presents the new MacBook Air to the press at Steve Jobs Theater.
Image: apple.com

We’re at a time in history where smartphones are reaching their peak and technology companies are looking at moving us to a world of mixed realities and ambient computing, but in order to do that they need to understand how you engage with the world as it is now so they can provide you with the same familiarity in the digital world.

This might sound like an enhanced version of Apple’s walled garden (it is), but if a digital world is inevitable, the question you need to ask is who do you trust with your future? Is it the company that’s constantly worked to convince you that they’re reliable and trustworthy, or is the platform that’s tried to convince that they won’t lock you in while building their own, albeit larger, walled garden?

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