September 30, 2023
Over a week ago Apple had their WWDC. I had actually tuned in to watch some of the event, but eventually closed the window in favor of getting some work done.
After seeing some posts on social media later that day however, I realized I had missed something new from Apple.
So naturally I went back and watched the presentation. Something that surprised me, was that as I was watching the features and use cases of Apple Pro, it pulled at the child like wonder inside of me. It was like I was looking at the sci-fi, grown up version of Meta’s VR headset.
The shadows cast on reality. The ability to work on giant screens that you don’t have to physically own, mount on the wall, or in general worry about. The crazy ability for someone to fade into your workspace as they approach you. Ability to connect to your devices to expand your capabilities. Online meetings, and so on. The bells and whistles seem endless. Not even mentioning the Disney experience they teased at the end.
But then you sit back and really think about the product, and try to imagine yourself using it. It’s in that moment that the magic breaks. The moment we think like adults, and truly wonder how this will impact our society. It can cause a reflect on what happened during Covid and the depression and isolation that wrecked our society. According to APA, we saw a huge surge of Anxiety and Depression. Both jumping over 15% & 21% respectively during Covid*.
When you think about how people might start feeling after embracing a technology that literally puts a screen between you and your loved ones, you can’t help but feel like society is entering a state in which the social deprivation could be a real problem. And I’m not the only one thinking this.
In fact MKBD Tweeted during the event
Feeling dystopian yet?
Will it really feel like we’re having a meaningful connection knowing that there’s something strapped to the person’s face? Feeling ignored because someone is on their phone is already a common problem between friends and family. This feels like one step further down this path.The real moment everything falls apart, is when you see in the demonstration this man using the VR glasses to record his daughters. It felt broken somehow. Instead of connecting with his daughters and playing with them, he’s sitting there recording it. It feels like our current problem, when we pull out cell phones to record a moment, but accentuated ten fold.It doesn’t pull us out of that problem, but further into it.I showed my wife this video, and while she had heard some of my thoughts already, I wasn’t expecting her response to be so passionate. “They’re so isolated. All I see is only people trying to live what they don’t have anymore.”And when you watch the demonstration again with this thought in mind, it really does feel like the users are islands unto themselves. Sure, Apple tries to show how you can have more human connection than other VR devices, but it falls flat on it’s face when you realize what Apple is really asking you to do when you buy a set of these.These aren’t just for entertainment, they not just for use during a short time. They’re for all the time, for everything.Yet a large portion of the videos is someone alone, playing a game, watching a movie, reliving a moment, or doing some work. And the times that they do interact with other people feels… fake.It’s after watching Apples event that I felt that the opening to the TedEx talk by Human’s Founder Imran Chaudhri and x-apple employee of 22 years, was all the more perfectly timed.He opened the talk with this - “Some people envision screens closer to our eyes the future. But data increasingly invisible, is what we see.”
Humans approach is completely opposite to Apples. They would rather you live your moment without a screen in between you and life. They’re literally doing what apple is claiming to do, they’re changing the entire way that we would interact with technology.
I showed my wife this video immediately after showing her Apple Vision, I had wanted to see her reaction to such a different approach. Her response was equally different. While she wasn’t ecstatic about it. She loved the seamless translation feature, imagining what it would be like to do some traveling with such a seamless way to interact with a different culture and meet new people. After watching the TedEx Talk all the way through, she distinctly said that if she had to choose between the two, she’d choose Human.
Why do I keep bringing up my wife? Because for me, she’s a clear metric to go by. She’s the casual user. Someone that uses technology, but isn’t super tech savvy. The majority of population in my experience. She’s part of the demographic that really determines if something is widely adopted, or not.
When we sit down and compare the two, it comes down to this.
And this is where I think Apple has missed the mark. People don’t want the future they’re offering. As cool as it is, and how much it wows the kid in us.
On the other hand, when imagining a future where we could go an entire day, or even days, without looking at a screen doesn’t seem like a hope. But a far more distinct possibility with technology like Human. And it’s what we’re really craving deep down as humans. We’d just like to keep the convenience of technology without sacrificing meaningful relationships.
It’s easy to imagine why Imran and his team left Apple if they saw the future of Apple Vision Pro, and didn’t like it. I think it’s amazing that they saw such a contrastingly different future and a way to get there.
So as I wrap up this article. I did want to address the elephant in the room. Why is the CEO of a website agency writing about this? Isn’t this more of an article or podcast episode for a tech reviewer?
Probably. But I strongly believe that this type of technology will change the world of digital marketing, especially website agencies more than even AI like Bard and Bing will.
I know this is a strong statement to make. However people will to continue to use search engines and websites when using AIs like Bard and Bing, which are built to support and run off of search engines. While it seems on the outside like a major shift in technology, the strategies and tactics may only change a little bit. Blogs might become less relevant, site traffic metrics might decrease a bit.
But with an innovation like Human, where if widely adapted, people would stop using websites and search queries drastically. Our industry changes drastically, if not entirely. It would be a metamorphosis on a grand scale. Potentially putting many agencies out of business, even possibly my own business if websites became useless to enough of our customer base quickly enough.
Yet, despite the very real possibility of an industry I work in to be completely flipped on its head. I want to see the future with technology more like Human. Not Apple’s and Meta’s vision of it. Even if it meant losing my business due to that change, I think it would be worth it. Because in the end, it's easier to start a new business, than to rewrite a dystopia where everything we see is behind a screen.
Jason Friedman put blog post shortly after Apple's event comparing chatGPT and Apple Vision Pro. In his post, the line that stood out to me was this.
One vision feels like an assist. One vision feels like obstruction.
I’d say he nailed it. Be sure to click the source and read his full post, it's really good.That's all that I have on this topic for the time being. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my perspective on this. What's your thoughts on the future of technology? And which direction do you think it should go?
Until next time,