An Apple Vision Pro successor may need to be tethered to an iPhone or Mac

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro edited June 24

A new report says that a more mass-market and lower-cost version of the Apple Vision Pro headset won't be as much of a stand-alone device as the existing model is.

Close-up view of the sleek, white Apple Vision Pro headset featuring a dark, reflective visor with visible cameras and sensors.
Apple's headset could get a second model as soon as late 2025



Apple has been working on prototypes of a lower-cost AR/VR headset, following the debut of its original version. The future device is rumored to cut costs by narrowing the field of vision and other changes.

The major savings will come from requiring it be tethered to an iPhone or Mac for its computing power.

Such a move would both dramatically reduce the weight as well as the cost, along with an all-new design. Prototypes of the device, codenamed N107, are already being developed.

Bloomberg's latest "Power On" newsletter has suggested that the lower-cost version would be called "Apple Vision" to distinguish it from the existing Apple Vision Pro.

One possible change in the lower-cost model would be to remove the EyeSight feature that shows the user's eyes to people in the room. Reducing the quality of the internal VR screens has also been considered, according to reports.

While a price range of $1,500 to $2,000 has been suggested, Bloomberg reports that the company hopes to debut the lower-priced version by the end of 2025. It is still unclear if the lower price will improve demand for the spatial-computing headset.

Work on the next-generation version of the self-contained Apple Vision Pro, codenamed N109, is also proceeding -- contrary to previous rumors. The second-gen Apple Vision Pro is expected to support faster processors -- given that the M4 is already shipping in the iPad Pro. Also expected are improved external cameras.

The company hopes to reduce the weight and increase the comfort of the otherwise similar-looking version of the Apple Vision Pro. The new unit is thought to be unlikely to debut before late 2026.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    twolf2919twolf2919 Posts: 125member
    If true, congratulations Apple, you’re on your way to doing what you should have done in the first place: rely on the computer already in people’s pockets.  Next up, drop the “VR” bit, letting the headset into glasses.   Voilá, you’ve turned your dud of a product into a guaranteed mass market success.
    canukstormwilliamlondonbeowulfschmidtaderutterVictorMortimerkdupuis77CurtisHight
  • Reply 2 of 31
    I’m honestly perfectly happy with tethering it to a Mac, iPad, and/or iPhone if they get the price way down. That’s the best way to use the Quest 2 my daughter has. Ideally, it would need to be wireless for people to really want to use it with the Mac. 
    VictorMortimerkdupuis77watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 31
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,121member
    This does seem smart. EyeSight is cool, but hardly essential to the user experience, and the next-gen iPhone processors (or subsequent models) should be at least as capable as the M2 in the AVP, especially if they are designed with this application in mind, as long as there aren’t significant latency issues caused by having the processor on a different device. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 31
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,729member
    twolf2919 said:
    If true, congratulations Apple, you’re on your way to doing what you should have done in the first place: rely on the computer already in people’s pockets.  Next up, drop the “VR” bit, letting the headset into glasses.   Voilá, you’ve turned your dud of a product into a guaranteed mass market success.
    100% agree.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 31
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,107member
    That can't happen the EU will want for the sake of competition and love all Windows and Android devices be allowed to have full connection rights to the Apple Vision. :)
    ssfe11williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    Narrowing tbe field if vision. Soooooo….

    Apple Less Vision Pro?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 31
    jibjib Posts: 58member
    danox said:
    That can't happen the EU will want for the sake of competition and love all Windows and Android devices be allowed to have full connection rights to the Apple Vision. :)
    If that did happen, easy answer is not to offer it in the EU.  Not a high enough volume product to matter to Apple much, and not worth having to kowtow to the EU
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31
    jwdawsojwdawso Posts: 391member
    I think this rumor is "Unlikely" at best. I know it's from our Tech Lord Mark Gurman, but this goes against Apple's nature. There could be a high speed tether to support development work, particularly for  prototypes that are testing graphics. There's a slower tether for supporting general development on the current Vision Pro. It also seems to me that tethering does not lower the price to the consumer - they would have to have a current iPhone or Mac also, which would raise the price to a similar level as the Vision Pro. So I would say "Unlikely".
    OriginalAppleGuywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 31
    jwdawsojwdawso Posts: 391member
    jib said:
    danox said:
    That can't happen the EU will want for the sake of competition and love all Windows and Android devices be allowed to have full connection rights to the Apple Vision. :)
    If that did happen, easy answer is not to offer it in the EU.  Not a high enough volume product to matter to Apple much, and not worth having to kowtow to the EU
    I think he was joking! All I can say, is that I'm glad I don't live in the EU.
    ssfe11watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 31
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,408moderator

    While a price range of $1,500 to $2,000 has been suggested, Bloomberg reports that the company hopes to debut the lower-priced version by the end of 2025. It is still unclear if the lower price will improve demand for the spatial-computing headset.

    It will likely still be low unit volume but $3500 is a non-starter for most people, especially for more than 1 unit per household. It's pretty much a given that reducing the price by half or more will significantly improve the unit sales, likely more than 2x.

    A survey here said that average yearly household spend on electronics was $1480:

    https://pirg.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Repair-Saves-Families-Big_USP_Jan2021_FINAL1a.pdf

    $319 on major appliances like fridge, washing machine.
    $120 on small appliances like microwave, blender, kitchen products.
    $1042 on TV, phones, consoles etc.

    $3500 is more than 3x the average yearly spend on non-appliance electronics. $1500 is still high for a lot of families but it is attainable for a much larger amount of people. Apple's ASP for Macs (~25m units) is around $1300.

    The Meta Quest headsets at $500 sell around 5-10m units per year. Apple can probably get close to this unit volume at a $1500 price point.

    They may have an opportunity to partner with console manufacturers. The console manufacturers are struggling to sell their VR hardware but if a Vision Pro could be used with a Playstation, that would be a win for both companies. The console companies don't make much from the hardware, mainly the games:

    https://www.theverge.com/2024/3/18/24104649/sony-pausing-playstation-vr2-production

    It would be nice to have a lightweight wearable that can be plugged into a USB-C port on a Mac and have multiple 30"+ OLED displays show up. Wireless would be best of course but bandwidth is heavy for 4K90 and there's latency involved with heavy encoding. A cable would be ok in addition to wireless and using an iPhone as the processing device would be portable.

    Apple Vision Pro minus EyeSight, minus M-chip, storage, RAM, fan assembly, only R-chip, lenses, cameras, sensors, displays can be much lighter and most likely somewhere around $1500-2000.
    dewmewilliamlondondavenCurtisHightwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 31
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,421member
    jwdawso said:
    I think this rumor is "Unlikely" at best. I know it's from our Tech Lord Mark Gurman, but this goes against Apple's nature. There could be a high speed tether to support development work, particularly for  prototypes that are testing graphics. There's a slower tether for supporting general development on the current Vision Pro. It also seems to me that tethering does not lower the price to the consumer - they would have to have a current iPhone or Mac also, which would raise the price to a similar level as the Vision Pro. So I would say "Unlikely".
    I think you may be misunderstanding the proposition. Not having to have a full computer in the "Apple Vision" (non-pro) will allow that headset to be dramatically cheaper than the Vision Pro, right? And the sort of people who tend to buy the Vision Pro are, at the very least, people who spend a fair amount of time alone (since the whole idea of a headset is to be immersed). They might have more "disposable income" than a family of six, on average.*

    *Both the Vision Pro and future "Apple Vision" are rich people's toys IMO at present, but I see their growing potential.

    You are right that you would likely need a current or future iPhone to handle this work, but again this thing isn't coming out for at least a year. Right now, today, you will need at least an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max for the full Apple Intelligence experience. Clearly, Apple is expecting a big chunk of the user base to upgrade their iPhones in the next year or two for that feature alone. I certainly will be doing so, but my iPhone 12 is already "old" in iPhone terms and my secondary XR is positively ancient! :)

    I would guess that most iPhone 13 and 14 owners are on a two-year contract with their provider, so they will also be upgrading around the time this Apple Vision comes out, or shortly thereafter. Remember also that the regular iPhone 16 and 16 Plus will be getting the chip that is in the 15 Pro and Pro Max now, if Apple follows its usual practices. So those models are will likely be able to support Apple Intelligence, and perhaps this "Apple Vision" model. The more powerful Neural Engine in the 15 Pro and Pro Max and future iPhones are timed for the upgrading cycle to happen right around when these new and more powerful goodies are scheduled to be available.

    It's almost like Apple planned it that way!
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Since the current Vision Pro is already tethered to its battery, tethering to the iPhone should be only a minor drawback.    I can imagine having a special holster that can hold both a battery and an iPhone with a single cable going to the Vision VR.   iPhones will continue to get more powerful adding to the good rationale of taking this approach.
    baconstangcommentzillaCurtisHightwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,545member
    I really like @Marvin’s train of thought on this. I was also wondering whether the price point of a cost reduced AVP would significantly increase sales significantly.

    I personally feel that Apple releasing the first version of an entirely new product under the “Pro” designation created a bit of confusion when a lot of the current features are consumer oriented while the device itself is probably better geared toward business users. Business buyers are far less likely to choke on the AVP’s current price point because they can depreciate the device as a business computer over a fairly short period of time.

    Obviously there are OEMs and system integrators that are sourcing AVPs as component parts of larger systems, for example in medical applications. I would imagine that business buyers would prefer that Apple continue to enhance the AVP hardware and software on a regular basis so they can expand the number of applications that benefit from its use. The high cost is not an inhibitor in true “Pro” applications.

    Has Apple ever released a “Pro” version of a new product prior to having the base version available? 

    Are the features being queued up as candidates for downgrading based on Apple’s product vision or based on an assumed bill of materials cost for the current model? The reason I ask is because Apple may take a different approach with the AV Basic in addition to tethering. Rather than trying to cost reduce the current AVP Apple could significantly alter the base model’s design more significantly, for example going with hand controllers or other control mechanisms like an Apple Watch and/or a smart wrist band that are not as processing intensive. Or they could bake Apple Intelligence deeply into the design. From a Pro standpoint the AVP could also move up to M4/M5 with more focus on business apps, business buyers, graphic designers with the need for speed, etc., while holding its price close to where it is. 

    Hopefully Apple designed the current AVP with Apple Intelligence heavily in mind. Apple Intelligence in its later versions could quickly escalate platform requirements up to a point where the first release version of AVP becomes something akin to the current Mac Pro. If lower cost AV versions are built with Apple Intelligence as a primary use case they could become akin to the Mac Studio and its current relationship to the Mac Pro, at  least for Apple Intelligence heavy applications.

    Perhaps a cost reduction approach doesn’t make as much sense as a purpose built design/redesign. Apple Intelligence may be much more influential and impactful on several upcoming Apple products going forward, much like Microsoft’s Copilot is creating a bifurcation between pre-Copilot PCs and post-Copilot PCs. That is, if everything AI related goes according to plan.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 31
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,393member
    JohnC1959 said:
    Since the current Vision Pro is already tethered to its battery, tethering to the iPhone should be only a minor drawback.    I can imagine having a special holster that can hold both a battery and an iPhone with a single cable going to the Vision VR.   iPhones will continue to get more powerful adding to the good rationale of taking this approach.
    If they could get the needed bandwidth between the battery pack and the headset they could move the Mx SOC in the device out to the pack for easier upgrades. Then selling headset and support unit separately could make sense with a headset that could just be weathered to a Mac or even iPhone for some customers leaving the option to upsell the battery pack (New mac mini) as an upsell or standalone device for use with other monitors.
     I can't see that getting $1000 of the price.

    CurtisHightwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 31
    davendaven Posts: 707member
    I think it is a great option and can see it being popular. I’m considering getting the pro model regardless because I want to play with it sooner rather than later.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 31
    miiwtwomiiwtwo Posts: 58member
    1500-2000 and tethered, we are not idiots Apple facepalm: 
    if you gonna do that, i would pay 300 max,
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 31
    miiwtwo said:
    1500-2000 and tethered, we are not idiots Apple facepalm: 
    if you gonna do that, i would pay 300 max,
    I see you are the one dictating the price. I'm sure Apple would hire you in a heartbeat. Also, how old are you? LOL
    davenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 31
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,299member
    I don’t believe this for a second. Saying this having a Vision Pro at home for work/dev (and not using or liking it).

    Tethering to a $2000 laptop, having to stay nearby it, potentially getting rid of eye-sight which is a must for efficiency, is a bad idea and goes against Apple’s way of dealing with hardware.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,299member
    daven said:
    I think it is a great option and can see it being popular. I’m considering getting the pro model regardless because I want to play with it sooner rather than later.
    I recommend waiting. I have one at home for work and there’s just not a lot you can do with it. There’s not a lot of software that sells the device. 
    VictorMortimer
  • Reply 20 of 31
    I predicted using your iPhone as CPU/GPU for AR glasses way back in 2016: https://medium.com/@philvanallen/3-clues-for-an-apple-ar-ecosystem-67acef86af94
    watto_cobra
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