It hurts myself to write this comment because I wish it had been different. Still, I believe it’s true: the $3,500 price point for Apple’s new XR display, the Vision Pro, announced yesterday, is reasonable.
That’s because – unusually for Apple – they don’t want to address the consumer market at all. Instead, the “Pro” lives up to its name. Because the Vision Pro is a device for developers.
Vision Pro: Not what Apple wanted?
Apple would have liked to see things differently. They’ve been working on an XR display for over a decade. The result is Vision Pro, even if there was obviously a lot of opposition to this decision from the executive floor.
The actual goal, an AR display in the form of glasses for end customers, had to be left aside for the time being. Nevertheless, that should still be Apple’s ultimate goal: the Google Glasses with augmented reality and in really good.
In order to get there, however, not only the hardware, which is technically not yet feasible, is necessary. The software, i.e. the App Store, was also decisive for the success of the iPhone. And for that you need external developers who develop apps.
Why the Vision Pro couldn’t make any compromises
Apple was faced with a chicken-and-egg problem that could only be solved with a finished product. No apps without glasses, no good glasses without apps. In addition, AR and VR are damn hard to make palatable to others on paper, as I was able to experience myself during my test of the Pico 4. You have to experience that.
So Apple is now making a virtue out of necessity and bringing out a display that completely misses the high-priced end-user segment and instead is aimed directly at the developers.
This is important for Apple for three reasons: The device must be technically top.
- On the one hand, to show developers the technical possibilities and to assure them that their app development is in good hands with the Vision Pro.
- Second, to make users’ mouths water. If we want what we can’t have today, Apple can rely on fan hype to unveil a cheaper model.
- And third, because Apple is Apple. The brand’s image cannot afford to start with a weakened but affordable product. People want to see perfection.
The first hands-on reports, for example from The Verge, show that this has been successful. It is precisely this premium claim that also drives the price up so far.
Vision Pro: Despite the hefty price, I’m positive
And yet I believe that Apple made the right move with the introduction of the Vision Pro – even at a price of $3,500. Because with the integration of countless well-known iOS and iPadOS apps, the usual hardware basis in the form of an M2 chip and a cooperation with Unity, developers are given a lot of tools.
But it will be important that Apple stays on the ball. After all, the goal should still be an AR product for end customers in a few years. We will now have to work towards this for years. And if Apple is smart about it, more affordable variants of the Vision Pro are on the way in the form of a Vision or Vision Air, worth four figures to enthusiasts.
The path becomes rocky. Rockier than the Apple Watch and also rockier than the iPhone. I hope Apple can keep up this dry spell. Because like CEO Tim Cook, I believe that AR (not VR) will be ubiquitous in the future. And Apple took an important step in this direction yesterday – even if we can’t or don’t want to afford it.
how do you see it? Do you agree with my assessment? Is the Vision Pro really primarily intended for developers and is the price not a problem at all? Or am I on the wrong track and just looking for excuses because I would have liked a cheaper headset? And do you believe in the future of Apple’s XR displays? Tell us in the comments!