Apple’s recently introduced Vision Pro augmented reality (AR) headset has generated a lot of buzz. Priced at $3,499, it is far more expensive than comparable headsets on the market, leading many commentators to question Apple’s motive for releasing such a costly device.
While the headset is technically advanced, with an M2 and a new R1 chip inside, a dozen cameras, and a host of sensors, its hefty price tag is not entirely due to its production costs. Instead, Apple has launched the Vision Pro to offer developers an opportunity to experiment with the latest AR technology, rather than targeting the mass market.
Apple is likely to refine the Vision Pro’s new experiences before making it widely available.
Apple’s ecosystem provides a strong foundation for the headset, as there will soon be thousands of apps available for it. However, the company will not produce the headset on a large scale, at least not initially, as it may take some time to refine the experience and develop the app ecosystem further.
Furthermore, the launch date is set for early next year, and the device will initially be available only in the U.S., with other countries coming later next year. Therefore, it will be some time before the device is widely available.
Although Apple has not disclosed whether it has more headsets in the pipeline, there are rumors of a cheaper version, reportedly costing around the price of an iPhone, which could launch in 2024. This more affordable headset, which will be released when there is already a robust third-party app ecosystem for Apple’s virtual world, is expected to sell millions of units.
So rather than being frustrated by the high price tag of the Vision Pro headset, consumers should view it as a technology showcase that demonstrates what can be achieved with AR. The device is primarily intended for developers and early adopters, while the affordable headset launching later is likely to appeal to a broader audience.
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