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🍏 Apple could win AR

The Hustle

Think you’re a fast grocery shopper? Think again. DoorDash is opening up a delivery-only store in NYC that promises to have an order of groceries at your doorstep in just 10-15 minutes. Just imagine the sheer adrenaline rush among staff trying to get bags packed when an order comes in.

Today’s rundown:

  • Apple’s next big bet: Could AR glasses be coming?
  • Metaverse realtors: The virtual land boom, explained.
  • Do-over: Instagram wants users to create new accounts. Why?
  • Around the web: Aldi’s “Aisle of Shame,” floating drones, and more wild internet things.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Apple AR glasses mock-ups

The Apple AR glasses are unofficial mock-ups from The Wall Street Journal

Are Apple AR glasses coming?

Apple made a comically large $365B+ in the 2021 fiscal year.

At that level, there are very few business lines that can really move the needle for the company (its $19 polishing cloth won’t do it).

Augmented reality (AR) glasses…

… could be one answer. According to The Wall Street Journal’s Christoper Mims, the eyeglasses market is worth $150B a year.

A number of tech companies have tried — and mostly failed — to crack the consumer glasses market:

  • Google launched Glass in 2013, but a big price tag ($1.5k) with no specific use case hampered the rollout. People wearing them were called “Glassholes,” so that prob didn’t help either (the line discontinued in 2015).
  • Snap announced Spectacles in 2016, but a botched rollout killed the hype. Only 0.08% of its users ever bought them.
  • Meta (AKA Facebook) partnered with Ray-Ban for its Stories glasses. These are mostly for photo taking, but the Facebook brand has huge privacy baggage (the product completely avoids the “FB” name).

Here’s why Apple is set up for success

According to Mims, Apple AR benefits from:

  • The iPhone: A challenge for AR glasses is to create a light product that also packs computing power. By offloading processing functions to an iPhone (like it does with Watch), Apple can strike a balance.
  • Custom chips: Apple has spent 10+ years creating its own computing chips, which are optimized to provide high performance on low energy consumption (a crucial trade-off for portable glasses).
  • Upscale brand: Eyewear is intertwined with the fashion industry. To convince people to put something on their face, it better look good. Apple’s design history suggests they can pull it off (and it makes sense as a potential entry point into the metaverse).

Apple has yet to make an AR announcement, but Apple Insider says the product could come out by the end of next year. If it does, that $19 polishing cloth better work on glasses.

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SNIPPETS

Popshelfs are popping: Dollar General announced plans to open 1k new locations for Popshelf, its high-end discount concept, over the next 4 years. #ecommerce-retail

Renewable city: South Lake Tahoe, California, will vote on a resolution that would commit the city to 100% renewable energy by 2030. #clean-energy

Robots are coming: Sales of service robots increased 41% in 2020 — applications under service include transportation and logistics, cleaning, and medical use cases. #emerging-tech

Hot wallet: BitMart, a crypto exchange, confirmed it was hacked and lost $150m in cryptocurrency. #privacy

Disappearing ink: WhatsApp launched a new default setting enabling users to set all 1:1 chats to disappear automatically after 1, 7, or 90 days. #big-tech

MFM: Sam and Shaan explain how Walt Disney turned Disneyland into a ~$4B per year empire. #mfm

Twitter thread: Trends’ Julia Janks compiled a list of Trends’ recent hits and misses over the last year. #hustle-picks

Virtual Realty
growth of virtual real estate portfolios

Visual: Singdhi Sokpo

The virtual land boom, explained

There’s virtual reality — and then there’s virtual realty.

Today, “virtual real estate” may sound like an oxymoron, but a future where pixelated land is sold at values rivaling Manhattan properties is likely.

Actually, screw the future — it’s happening now.

What the heck’s a virtual land boom?

Let’s step back. “The Metaverse,” a conglomerate of ultra-interactive virtual worlds with economies of their own… is coming. Many say it’s already here with “The Sandbox,” “Decentraland,” “Minecraft,” and others.

Some predict it’s a $1T (if not $30T) opportunity. New virtual worlds mean new kinds of jobs, marketplaces (i.e., NFT malls), and experiences (i.e., concerts).

So think of it this way: If you had the chance to buy Manhattan real estate in 1750 and live to reap the benefits, that would’ve been nice, right?

And today’s world moves faster than Colonial America’s, which is why folks are jumping in now. In the last week of November, sales of digital land purchases brought in $105.9m across just 4 metaverse projects.

What’s the land used for?

Well, you can develop it, open a store, build a house, park your virtual $650k yacht, or establish an embassy like Barbados is doing.

One recent purchase on “Decentraland” for $2.43m equated to 6.9k square feet at $400/foot, about ⅓ the per-foot value of *actual* land in San Francisco.

The big risk here is that the value of virtual purchases can go “poof” in milliseconds. For example, if a newer, cooler metaverse like the OASIS happens to open up.

Remember, even a pile of dry dirt can hold some value in a real real estate bust.

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Fresh Feeds
Instagram app

Instagram wants users to start fresh. Why?

Instagram knows your feed is cluttered — and they want to “help.”

The platform has started prompting users with a notification encouraging them to create a new account to “keep up with a smaller group of friends,” per The Wall Street Journal.

The move reflects new trends in online engagement

Namely, that users are shifting from a mindset of “get as many likes as possible” to private messaging with smaller groups.

Notably, the platform already offers options to help users maintain a tighter feed, including:

  • Setting accounts to private
  • Sharing posts with “Close Friends” only

Users can also cleanse their feed by going on an unfollowing spree — but risk awkward conversations if the “unfollowed” take it personally.

Another reason for the move…

… is better ad targeting. By pushing a user to start over and only follow accounts they identify with, Instagram can target users with more relevant ads — which, in turn, will drive more engagement.

Another benefit? If users create new accounts without deleting their existing ones, it will boost the app’s daily active user count.

So while a cleaner feed may lead to a better user experience, it will likely lead to bigger profits for Instagram too.

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AROUND THE WEB

🧑‍🚀 On this day: In 1972, the final Apollo mission — Apollo 17 — launched into space. Humans haven’t touched the moon since.

🏗 That’s cool: PJ Catalano is a master model builder at the Legoland theme park. In this video, he explains how he builds huge, complex models.

🧘 Useful: Stretchly is an app that reminds you to take breaks while you’re working on your computer. Stretch, take some deep breaths, do a lap around your home/office, whatever!

🛒 Wait, what: Aldi’s discount section has its own fan club. They call it the “Aisle of Shame” and make bird noises to identify one another.

🕵️ How to: Email tracking and spamming are everywhere. Here are some tips for protecting your email from people and companies that want your data.

🐙 Wow: Check out these drones. They’re filled with helium and gently float in the air, mimicking ocean life.

Images of the day
The Daily Show gif

“The Daily Show” once created its own version of the Glasshole LOL (Source: Cult of Android)

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Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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