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There is no question in my mind that over the next few years headsets for VR and AR will become commonplace for anyone who works with text.

On terminology: The development of headsets is likely to continue with all having passthrough to move from VR to AR and some having an AR ‘first’ focus, such as Google Glass had. I don’t think the term ‘XR’ will be used much outside the industry though, I fully expect the consumer to refer to ‘VR headsets’ and for this to become just ‘headsets’ over time, with even Apple’s ‘Reality’ headset being called just a headset, or the ‘Apple headset’. I can’t see it being referred to as ‘reality’.


The importance of Now


The importance of now is huge. I feel quite strongly that it will be important to develop this entirely new, all-encompassing environment as thoughtfully as possible and not only based on the initial commercial explorations of big tech companies. This is why I have been experimenting with VR to experience it and better understand it in use, and hosting dialog on the future of text in VR through the Lab which resulted in the 2023 volume of The Future of Text.


Issues to overcome


Issues to overcome for VR to become commonplace include hardware work to reduce the screen door effect so that reading text becomes pleasant, reduction in weight for comfort for longer sessions, better battery life and lower cost.

The most important and surprising issue is the lack of good onboarding or information integration. Instant access to the user’s information landscape and colleagues is needed, and I do expect Apple to make some major advances here.

As a developer I feel that I can add real value by simply having my own software, Author and Reader, be able to spawn virtual ‘displays’, not only windows, in a VR environment for example. Initial ‘wins’ for working in VR does not have to be mind benignly advanced, they just need to be mind expandingly useful.




Opportunities initially include space, space and more space to think and work.

Beyond this there is almost limitless potential for text and information interaction in general, something we have only started to scratch the virtual surface of.

Embodies cognition will be something very different in a decade…