Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse
Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse
11:08

Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse

VR/AR Productivity
Speaker 1: Apple and Disney have this incredibly unique business relationship. You have these two companies that bond at the intersection of creativity and technology to the point that they don't just feed off of each other, but I believe they need each other. And I would say Apple really needs Disney right now as someone who covers Apple's technology. The connection between these two companies is important to explore, and it's been on my mind because last week I got a tour inside Disney's Imagineering campus in California. This is one of [00:00:30] the most creative and cutting edge tech labs. One aspect of the work here involves the creation of these high-end audio animatronics that end up in Disney rides and shows. But on the research and development side, you have all this experimental technology. There was one point I got to play with an invention called Hollow Tiles, and it can change how we experience virtual reality. Speaker 1: There's been a number of times Apple and Disney have worked side by side with the company CEOs even inspiring one another, [00:01:00] but I can't help but think about how Apple needs an extra sprinkling of pixie dust in the months ahead. As we look to the updates for the Vision Pro headset will Disney's creative thinking give the Apple Vision Pro the lift it needs, not just more content, but a different type of VR content that justifies a hefty price tag. Let's explore the history between these two companies and how Apple benefits from teaming up with the mouse. Now more than ever, I'm Bridget Carey, and this is one more thing. [00:01:30] Former Apple, CEO. Steve Jobs had a very interesting relationship with Disney. At one time, he was Disney's largest individual shareholder and a member of Disney's board of directors and a personal friend and confidant of Disney's CEO. Speaker 1: Bob Iger. Jobs's Legacy and Business Guidance touched all corners of Disney from animation to theme parks and Disney retail stores and even the cruise line. It started with Pixar back in 1986, jobs acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm. [00:02:00] It was renamed to Pixar Animation Studios and Jobs was the CEO and majority owner Bob Iger talks about his work and friendship with jobs in his 2019 book, the Rite of a Lifetime and an excerpt was published in Vanity Fair, which I highly recommend reading in his words, we learned how Iger was fresh in his title of CEO looking to save the struggling Disney animation studios. Iger convinced jobs to sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006, which is how Jobs [00:02:30] got on the board of Disney and had such an influence on the company. Iger also was quick to jump into Apple products and digital content the same year as that Pixar sale Iger came to an iPod event to talk about Disney movies and shows being available on iTunes, so you could watch them on iPods. It worked out well for Disney. ABC's Lost was the number one show downloaded on iTunes at the time. We're here Speaker 2: Today to take the next step to make a step in what we believe is going to be a natural progression of [00:03:00] moving media from traditional platforms to new platforms. Speaker 1: That media partnership continued throughout a number of Apple products and just last year we saw Iger again at a major Apple presentation this time talking about how Disney is working on content for the Apple Vision Pro headset. Disney Plus was one of the first apps on the Vision Pro. It lets users not just watch movies in 3D, but also surround themselves in immersive environments. And one example of that is that you can watch Star [00:03:30] Wars while sitting in the cockpit of Luke Skywalker's land speeder on the planet. Tattooing Apple is leaning heavily on Disney to sell the entertainment value of the headset. When I got a demo of the Vision Pro at an Apple store, I saw one of the ways they wow guests. It's to show Disney's avatar the way of Water as an example of the best 3D content available. Now, when you look at the Vision Pro as a productivity device, it's really just an expensive Mac accessory. Speaker 1: The work features aren't even talked about that much [00:04:00] in the Apple Store demo. The key success of this device for now will be the content. It's what gets people excited about Apple's Tech, and it certainly was the main draw for my time with it. So Disney has the chance to create a theme park at home for users so you can live inside of its brands, but we are still waiting to see what else Disney is cooking up for the headset to Lu customers. Besides just cool ways to watch 3D movies, Iris's presentation teased us with images of Mickey Mouse leaping around your living [00:04:30] room. It was just one idea being tossed around. There was also a tease of sports programming, perhaps something with Disney's ESPN where you could get a new perspective on the action. And what about games? Disney has made VR games before like Tales from Galaxy's Edge on Meta's Quest headset, but we haven't heard what games Disney might be making for the Vision Pro. Speaker 1: That said, the more important work Disney does next would go beyond another game. The company could influence future consumer hardware and it [00:05:00] wouldn't be the first time. Technology is shaped by our consumption of entertainment. The Apple Watch debuted with Mickey and Minnie Mouse tap in their toes and tell and time. I still use that watch face often. Good evening and entertainment is shaped by our love of technology. Apple is referenced all the time in Disney movies. Sometimes you miss it if you blink. Other times the references are very much in your face. There are even movies with characters holding iPhones, famed Apple Designer, Johnny, ive even helped guide the look of Eve [00:05:30] from Wally. The influence between the two companies goes beyond what you see on the screen is hardware. Take for instance, the smart wristband for the Disney theme parks. This was one of the first magic bands and guests all over Disney theme parks were wearing it to make mobile purchases and use it as a ticket and room key. Speaker 1: When it came out in 2013, that's two years before the Apple Watch and before you could tap to pay with an iPhone. The model is called Magic Band Plus it's [00:06:00] been upgraded to use a special charger with lighting effects and gesture recognition. Wearing your tech was once novel, but guests may not think twice about charging another wearable for their vacation. And now so many people use iPhones in the parks that Disney makes apps just to interact with things in the parks via Bluetooth beacons. These tech concepts always bounce back to the iPhone, but it's the theme park playground that lets Disney test our boundaries. Where Apple alone might otherwise be limited, Disney [00:06:30] is often first to play in a new space. To tell a story, a few years ago it partnered with the VR Entertainment Company, the Void, where it would create these ticketed virtual worlds that you could walk around, role play and engage all the senses. Speaker 1: I dove into a wrecked Ralph world from the Pixar movies and there was a Star Wars adventure I tried as well. Now, some of these locations were at malls. Some of them were outside the theme parks on Disney property. And what made them so interesting was that you were free to roam in this space [00:07:00] and you smelled the environment. You felt the walls, you felt shocks and heat. Disney together with the void were trying to take VR to a new realm and it was hands down the best VR experience I ever had. The Disney imagineers do have VR on the mind with some of the projects they're tinkering with today. Of course, VR is a tool for these theme park designers to create and build. But as one executive Imagineer said during my visit, having Vision Pro in the world means [00:07:30] it's a harder job now to impress guests Speaker 3: As we look to the world of virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality. It's funny because the theme parks, Disneyland was sort of the first immersive environment. So we look at these technologies as tools in our toolkit, whether it's behind the scenes, us here at Imagineering, using them to design the next great ride or the next great land. We're still figuring out how that relates into a physical theme park environment. But what we know is that the more people can do amazing things at home, that just pushes us to up our game in the parks to make a trip to the park that much more magical [00:08:00] and special. Speaker 1: One of the latest imaginary products comes from famed Disney inventor Lanny Smoot. It's called Hollow Tiles, and it's an omnidirectional floor take a step in any direction, and these circular components are like tiny treadmills, rotating, spinning, and tilting to get your foot back into the same place you started. It's a true way to walk forever in vr. How could Apple use this to make a whole new type of mixed reality environment and multiple people can be [00:08:30] on it? Hollow tiles could be used for applications outside of vr, like visual tricks. I pretended one time I had Jedi Force powers of telekinesis to move a box with my hand, but the VR applications here could be for fun and for work. Now, when I saw it being demoed, Smoot was wearing a me Quest headset telling us that he was walking around a virtual version of Disneyland. Speaker 1: But what's to say Apple couldn't have some sort of program in the future that can understand this kind of walking input [00:09:00] and change how we interact in vr. There's no program that can do this yet, but it's this next level kind of thinking that Apple would need to make Vision Pro truly different. Although that might be a farfetched future to say we could have something like hollow tiles at home. It's Disney really pushing the limits, imagining what our VR future could look like and potentially inspire Apple in ways we can't see yet. This is not a video about how or if Apple would buy Disney. Certainly it's something [00:09:30] often speculated about when people wonder how Apple should spend. Its billions in cash reserves, but Apple and Disney have such a unique relationship without needing to actually become one company. The real test of this Apple Disney bond will come at WDC, the Developers Conference in June, and also throughout the rest of the year. Speaker 1: Will Disney produce more content for the Vision Pro to make it more alluring or will the product be stuck in the same place it was when it debuted? I think there's a big thirst [00:10:00] to see what's next from Disney on the Vision Pro when the headset is so expensive and in our team of right now is the biggest draw to the headset. We saw many teases of what could be possible, a National geographic adventure from a couch or a way to bring Disney World into your world. But everything is just a tease, a big what if Disney could get by just fine, continuing to invest in its own theme parks, certainly that's Disney's priority right now. Iger said Disney's spending $60 billion into theme parks over [00:10:30] the next decade, and we may see these tech innovations like hollow tiles in the park first, but Apple should do everything it can to keep Disney thinking about how they can work together. If mixed reality is in our future, it's going to take both of them to make us understand the possibilities of that future. I hope you found this little dive into Disney and Apple's history. Interesting. And let me know what you think of Disney's future work in VR with Hollow Tiles, and what do you want to see with the future of the Apple Vision Pro? It's still [00:11:00] in the early days, maybe we just have to be patient. Thanks for watching and I'll catch you next Friday with one more thing In the world of Apple.

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