Kolkata is a place where the cops challan you for not wearing a helmet while driving helmetless themselves on the wrong side and without a tail light, just to add to the irony. So, it would be interesting to see if the average Bengali shells out $3,500 to willingly put a helmet on their heads. But that is the price of Apple’s new AR set. Bloomberg has said “this can be the iPad for your face”. By that logic, it could also be the iPhone for my rear, but I really don’t see a use case for that anytime soon. In any case, if I wanted random people touching my face, I would be a bride in a Marwari arranged marriage.
The device has been described as resembling a pair of high-tech ski goggles tethered with a power cable to a portable battery pack. Now, if only we could hook it up to Prodosh C. Mitter, we might well have Feluda: The augmented adventure.
But I was on another augmented adventure, i.e., the Apple Vision Pro launch video. It had a lot of interesting marketing copy “Your favourite apps live right in front of you. But now they are in your space.” Yes, I would totally appreciate the zero matches after 10,000 right swipes on Bumble being shoved in my face all day. Or as women would call it, zero left swipes on their profile after 10,000 matches.
The technology allows you to navigate with your eyes. But I have a squint in my left eye, so I am worried I might accidentally open Tinder instead of Teams. And be at pains to explain to female colleagues that I was looking at their MS Teams profile and not their Tinder(s).
The hypnotising marketing voice drones on “It looks sounds and feels like they are physically there.” A lot like your parents even after you have moved out. The threat of cutting access to grandchildren is the only thing that prevents them from fully taking over your Vision Pro.
“Foundational to Apple Vision Pro is that you’re not isolated from other people.” Which kind of seems to defeat the purpose to be honest. Almost like “Now your friends can literally be inside your head all the time. Including the ones who still owe you money”.
“In the mindfulness app, you can create a moment of calm.” Yeah, it’s gonna take a heck of a lot more than $3,500 to achieve that in Burra Bazaar. “Beautiful environments let you extend beyond the dimensions of your room.” Or as Mumbaikars would call it, beyond the dimensions till you can finally see a room. “The incredible eye cover will capture your face so people can see an avatar of you that looks and feels realistic.” As realistic as you look and feel on an office Zoom call.
Unfortunately, what Apple does not realise is that things in India, or Kolkata, will never change even if the technology does. Now, your dad will be bumping into you wearing Spider-Man goggles and asking “Beta how to turn this off? I can’t go to Bengal Club like this”. And your mother will be lost in a 3D vortex of her saas-bahu serials, which already had people turning into lizards, so maybe they were ahead of their time on AR.
‘Unfortunately, what Apple does not realise is that things in India, or Kolkata, will never change even if the technology does... Your mother will be lost in a 3D vortex of her saas-bahu serials, which already had people turning into lizards, so maybe they were ahead of their time on AR’Apple
As I sign off on this article, there is news of a Las Vegas couple claiming aliens have landed in their backyard. Given the propaganda we have been subjected to since the pandemic, I can only wonder if we are being subjected to another augmented reality. But before you surrender to it, can you lend me $3,500?
The author, Vikram Poddar, is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.