Apple Vision Pro is already a win for Apple & consumers

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro edited January 27

The new Apple Vision Pro is the first step into spatial computing and, more critically, the development of visionOS. So, shipping the product is a win for Apple, regardless of what Wall Street prognosticates.

Apple Vision Pro on a table with a black cover and a white brick backdrop
Apple Vision Pro



There is a lot of discourse surrounding Apple Vision Pro and its launch. Who is it for, why it exists, why didn't Apple wait until it could sell you AR-equipped sunglasses, and so forth.

The answer to almost every question is simple -- Apple needed to get Apple Vision Pro and visionOS out there to make any more progress. If Apple's marketing around Apple Vision Pro is confusing or seems to be missing a killer app, it's not just you.

Apple needs consumers and developers to show it what the device is for. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

There's more to it, of course, so I'd like to break down why Apple Vision Pro will be a win -- at least for Apple, itself.

$3,500 is just an early access fee



Before we dive into wins let's discuss the price and timing. Rumors suggest we won't see a base Apple Vision until 2026 at the earliest with Apple Vision Pro 2 in 2027, so holdouts might be waiting a while. That initial $3,500 price tag partially accounts for the advanced technology at play.

Waiting to purchase Apple Vision Pro into late 2024 or early 2025 shouldn't prove to be a problem for consumers worried an upgrade could render the original model obsolete. The price won't change, nor will the hardware, not anytime soon.

The interior view of the Apple Vision Pro visor showing intricate circuitry and the R1 and M2 chips
Apple Vision Pro won't need new hardware to move forward, not yet



So, while some may save up to buy this product, put it on their Apple Card, or skip it altogether, it is increasingly a consumer-focused product as time moves forward. Regardless, it's going to sell in low volumes no matter Apple's pitch due to the price alone.

I believe the hardware is worth using now, with about the functionality of strapping an iPad Pro to a face. If you can work from an iPad Pro today, Apple Vision Pro likely won't prove to be a problem in the short term -- though we still don't know how it'll work on an 8-hour shift.

Between Apple building new operating system releases and developers making new experiences for visionOS and Apple Vision Pro, things can only improve. This kind of collaboration is a win for consumers. For example, it wasn't until the iPhone 6 Plus that the product line exploded thanks to all the ironed out kinks and larger display option.

A win for visionOS development



Apple Vision Pro and visionOS reached their inevitable endpoint being developed in a silo within Apple Park. The product needed to be released or else become something that might look cool but be impractical in real life, like AirPower, or an AI pin.

3D representations of app icons expanding, the foreground shows the photos app icon with an abstract, colorful flower
Apple can't develop everything in a vacuum, especially something as important as visionOS



We have seen this behavior with the Apple Watch, though seemingly with less intentionality. The company seemed to believe the Apple Watch was one thing until users showed Apple how it was actually being used, hence watchOS 2 being a big fork in development.

Apple seems to be taking a more direct approach with Apple Vision Pro. This initial piece of hardware prices out most average consumers, lacks a clear use case, and has minimal native app support at launch.

We don't disagree with it being a development tool. That's clearly not all it is, nor is it what Apple wants it to be in the future.

Developers and some enterprise buyers will make up most initial sales, but as the hardware evolves that mix will include more consumers as time goes on.

If visionOS follows Apple's usual release cadence, visionOS 2 be out in the fall. By that time, Apple will likely have a much stronger pitch for Apple Vision Pro based on user and developer feedback.

An easy financial win



Apple doesn't do budget products, so it is no surprise its first entry into spatial computing is a magnitude more expensive than competitor's $400 headsets. Remember, this is the same company that pioneered the $1,000 iPhone X in a market filled with subsidized competitors and then succeeded at selling it despite analysts' disbelief.

Apple Vision Pro on the left and Meta Quest 3 on the right against a gray background
Apple Vision Pro doesn't have any real competition at launch, not in its price bracket



Apple Vision Pro offers technology that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes is two to three years ahead of Meta Quest. That technological advancement combined with Apple's hefty margins makes the Apple Vision Pro price make a lot more sense.

Apple is trying to sell its vision of the future, today. Buying any kind of future or concept technology always comes at a premium. Try to buy one of the concept TVs shown at CES, and you'll be set back about $150k.

Doing a little napkin math, if Apple sold about 180,000 Apple Vision Pro units during pre-order weekend alone, that's about $680 million in revenue to start. That's excluding accessories, Apple Care, and memory upgrades.

For reference, it is estimated Meta sold about 18 million Quest 2 headsets at a max price of $400 each. That's 7.2 billion -- so Apple made about 10% of that in the opening weekend.

It's tough to call that a "project," "hobby," or "glorified dev tool." I'd call it a win.

Time will tell what Wall Street thinks. It mostly depends on how Apple can present the product's results.

A win for innovation



Apple doesn't like having competition, even if it's a net win for consumers. That's why it often positions itself and its products above the industries it operates in so it doesn't draw too much comparison.

A woman wearing Apple Vision Pro standing in front of virtualized windows, one showing a powerpoint and three others showing FaceTime calls
Apple Vision Pro is something new, a realization of other VR ideas



For example, Apple Vision Pro is described by Apple as a spatial computing device. It's not classic AR, VR, or even MR, and Apple doesn't want it to be.

If we look back far enough, we can pull out odd examples of virtual reality from pop culture or a brief eye-searing experience with Virtual Boy, but VR as it exists today began rearing its head in the early 2010s. You've seen it -- a big visor obscuring someone's face with big controllers wrapped around a person's hands.

The advance of technology has made VR more immersive over time, but the overall concept has remained unchanged. It's as if Nintendo stopped at the GameBoy Color and never looked for a new form factor.

Apple Vision Pro diverges from the standard, possibly creating a fork for competitors to follow. Apple may have coined the term spatial computing, but it's almost certain that others like Samsung will follow.

Competition breeds innovation, and Apple's approach to motion tracking, environment passthrough, and other technologies will likely influence the entire industry. That's another win for Apple Vision Pro, a driver of innovation in a space that kept building the faster horse of VR.

A glimpse of Apple's future



Every new Apple product announced since 2007 has been held to the light of the more successful sibling for comparison. There's little chance that any other product in human history, at least in our lifetimes, can come close to the success of the iPhone.

Apple Vision Pro on a pedastle at an event with people blurred in the background
No first-generation product will likely ever have an iPhone moment again



So, defining success for a product, especially one made by Apple, can be tricky. Often, analysts see numbers that companies in the industry would die for but see it as too small for Apple.

Look at the HomePod -- defining it as a success or failure changes depending on who you ask. We'll never truly know since Apple doesn't break out sales figures, but it's still for sale, so it's doing something for the company.

What's clear is Apple Vision Pro isn't a one-off test from Apple like some kind of failed spectacles or messaging platform. It's the start of a new platform that will define visionOS and the future of Apple hardware.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    Hey gang, thanks for mostly being civil on other editorial about Apple Vision Pro. I appreciate the discourse, it's been mostly excellent.

    That said -- if you come into this thread complaining that we're still talking about this with another opinion or angle from a different author, we're going to delete the comment as it adds nothing germane to the conversation. Also, berating folks for their opinions is explicitly not allowed under our commenting guidelines, which are linked at the bottom of every forum page. And, if you knew how poorly advertising pays, you'd not even consider making some statement that we're doing these pieces for that.

    Otherwise, have a good discussion!
    edited January 26 muthuk_vanalingamradarthekatjSnivelygregoriusmdewmejwdawsoAlex1NXedmac_dogmacgui
  • Reply 2 of 68
    A lot of hurdles I think for the everyday consumer to justify the purchase. Even if this product came out in the $500 range like the competitors I still don't think the use case is there yet. It's a novelty/ "cool" gadget but I don't see people incorporating this into their everyday life or workflow in its current state. I would definitely be more apt to try it out for $500 but I think it would end up on a shelf somewhere collecting dust after a couple weeks. That being said, if technology improves and these can get to the point of resembling everyday prescription glasses/sunglasses then I think they would sell better. The appearance is off-setting/jarring for someone wearing this out in public in my opinion but that's just my 2 cents. 
    9secondkox2dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 68
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 1,031member
    Development platforms are gearing up for the Vision Pro. Wolfram products such as WolframAlpha and Mathematica support are in development, and I expect Julia and Python will be offering hooks into the product. 
    jas99gregoriusmdanoxAlex1Ngilly33Bart Y
  • Reply 4 of 68
    Nice article, very well written.  The only thing I would add is that this is definitely V1 which is appropriate for innovators, but it won’t be ready for the mass market until later, perhaps V5 or V10.  This is a brand new platform and it looks like Apple will dominate it.  Today’s Vision Pro is like a newborn baby that can do very little but has enormous potential.

    jas99gregoriusmMisterKitAlex1NBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 68
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,276member
    This article gets it right. 

    This first iteration of the product is appropriately aimed at early adopter “pro” users and developers who can get in on the ground floor to help understand and shape what this new platform will become. In other words, it’s for people who will use it for the purpose of figuring out its use. 

    That’s why it’s so shortsighted when a company like Netflix ignores AVP because the current user base is small. The purpose of developing for it now is to learn how to develop for it so that when it becomes big, you’re ready. Disney clearly gets this. 

    I wish I had the time to devotes to being one of the early adopters, but I just don’t. I appreciate the efforts of those that do.
    radarthekatgregoriusm9secondkox2jwdawsoAlex1Ngilly33Bart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 68
    According to the author, Apple is putting the Vision Pro out there in order to gain insight into how it's actually used , which then lets them make progress on where to take the product.  I don't see how.  Sure, with the Apple Watch, Apple took it into the health & fitness direction after millions of users  purchased and used it for that.  But selling a couple hundred thousand units to early adopters and enterprises  won't give Apple any useful feedback on how the general population would use an AR/VR product.   They'll get feedback on how techies and companies want to use it.  Also, such a  limited base won't convince many developers to come up with innovative new apps for the device.  Developers, like Apple, are in it for the money - they will only develop for a platform if they can see a potential profit.  Such potential does not really exist when the total addressable market is less than a million for the foreseeable future.  Maybe a few large development shops will bite because they can afford to take the long view, but not the little developers that have made iPhone such a success.

     I think the Vision Pro will be a learning experience for Apple for sure.  They'll learn that the general population will never wear goggles strapped to their heads for hours per day and that they should have concentrated on making lighweight AR glasses  that augment and eventually replace the iPhone's screen.  The VP remain a niche product for gamers and specialized business activities.


  • Reply 7 of 68
    This is an exciting time- I think the possibilities of spatial computing are exhilarating and limitless. 
    I imagine a time in the future when we laugh at how large/heavy the Pro headset is- but we will think, “Wow, Apple was so ahead of the curve.”
    Even the “failed” Newton had tech and lessons that affected the iPhone-
    so whether it’s simply an iteration of what comes from the initial Pro for VisionOS, or a radical change over the years- I don’t think it will matter. 
    As computers evolve from room sized boxes, to desktop, to handheld, to wearable, to (at least partially) implanted etc,
    and become more immersive, it seems spatial computing and VisionOS are an obvious evolution.
    exciting times. . .  :)
    edited January 26 radarthekatgregoriusmemoellerjwdawsoAlex1Nmattinozgilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 68
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,198member
    Maybe a minor point for most people right now but the light seal seems to be an issue with the VP that currently has a clunky solution  I try to imagine how the situation with sizing goes away.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 68
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 754member
    After the Apple Watch came out I remember seeing articles up to two years later proclaiming it a flop. Not everything is an overnight success, including the iPhone. 
    edited January 26 ny_enthusiastradarthekatthtbadmonkgregoriusm9secondkox2danoxjwdawsoAlex1NBart Y
  • Reply 10 of 68
    1348513485 Posts: 345member
    twolf2919 said:
    ....Developers, like Apple, are in it for the money - they will only develop for a platform if they can see a potential profit.  Such potential does not really exist when the total addressable market is less than a million for the foreseeable future.  Maybe a few large development shops will bite because they can afford to take the long view, but not the little developers that have made iPhone such a success.
    I'm not sure where you came up with the claim that the total addressable market is "less than a million". Based on what? Apple may see the potential entirely differently than you.
    gregoriusm9secondkox2jwdawsoAlex1NmattinozBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 68
    thttht Posts: 5,437member
    twolf2919 said:
    According to the author, Apple is putting the Vision Pro out there in order to gain insight into how it's actually used , which then lets them make progress on where to take the product.  I don't see how.  Sure, with the Apple Watch, Apple took it into the health & fitness direction after millions of users  purchased and used it for that.  But selling a couple hundred thousand units to early adopters and enterprises  won't give Apple any useful feedback on how the general population would use an AR/VR product.   They'll get feedback on how techies and companies want to use it.  Also, such a  limited base won't convince many developers to come up with innovative new apps for the device.  Developers, like Apple, are in it for the money - they will only develop for a platform if they can see a potential profit.  Such potential does not really exist when the total addressable market is less than a million for the foreseeable future.  Maybe a few large development shops will bite because they can afford to take the long view, but not the little developers that have made iPhone such a success.
    This is a lie the mediarati tells themselves. I've heard it too often now. Health and fitness was one of the 3 tentpole features Apple designed the Apple Watch for. There was literally a Watch called the "Watch Sport" in the original lineup. It was definitely what they designed it for. It wasn't a change in direction or anything. It's was just incremental feature improvements. Some features were abandoned. That happens all the time with this stuff, but Apple got the original features of the Apple Watch right, including the band connection design.

    They were wrong with the gold, but in terms of Edition models, I think the Watch Ultra models are successors to the Edition models, and if they had ceramic models, it would sell.

    For the Vision Pro, it still is very much in Apple's hands and not in developers hands. visionOS software needs at least another rev. Apple doesn't even have most of their apps on the platform yet, and it's up to their visionOS platform policies. If it is more Mac like, more apps will come. If it is limited like in iPadOS, it is going to be a slow slog imo.


    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 68
    “Early access” sounds a lot like “beta”

    I’d say $3500 is quite a bit for that. 

    But here’s hoping apple actually some tricks up its sleeves to eventually make this thing compelling. 

    Not feeling it up to now. Still waiting for the glasses/sunglasses. 

    But if apple can do something with what they have now, I’d love to see it happen. 

    Until then (and after), I’d really love to see some redline innovation happen on the Mac side of things. 
    designrmuthuk_vanalingamgrandact73Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 68
    If anyone is aware, the timeframe for metalenz, nanolens tech is around 2026. The tech that will allow for thin headsets without all the glass.

    I have been wondering, why the screen up-front with eyes for AVP? Now, you all know that sunglasses make you feel uneasy when talking to someone wearing them.. This is the reason they did the eyesight thing or whatever it is called. Metalenz will not allow for transparent lenses, so they need to have eyes showing through a display when talking with a person. I am quite sure this is a feature that is vital for the success of AR glasses you wear for any amount of time in public and in social situations.

    Yes, I do believe AVP is positioning for the metalenz tech to arrive. Both software and hardware. I would say it is not a developer system, but Apple Vision 0.5

    edited January 26 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 68
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 184member, administrator, moderator, editor
    tht said:

    I've heard it too often now. Health and fitness was one of the 3 tentpole features Apple designed the Apple Watch for. There was literally a Watch called the "Watch Sport" in the original lineup. It was definitely what they designed it for. It wasn't a change in direction or anything. It's was just incremental feature improvements.
    Yes, the original Apple Watch had health features and fitness tracking, of course it did. But I'm referring to the dramatic change in the operating system and change in emphasis on features. The original launch focused on Digital Touch, having contacts attached to the side button, and running iPhone-attached apps.

    By watchOS 3 all of that was abandoned. Apple moved to a fitness and health first focus, notification triage as a feature, and on-device app experiences.

    The changes were dramatic and constant in the beginning.
    blastdoorAlex1NBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 68
    thttht Posts: 5,437member
    tht said:

    I've heard it too often now. Health and fitness was one of the 3 tentpole features Apple designed the Apple Watch for. There was literally a Watch called the "Watch Sport" in the original lineup. It was definitely what they designed it for. It wasn't a change in direction or anything. It's was just incremental feature improvements.
    Yes, the original Apple Watch had health features and fitness tracking, of course it did. But I'm referring to the dramatic change in the operating system and change in emphasis on features. The original launch focused on Digital Touch, having contacts attached to the side button, and running iPhone-attached apps.

    By watchOS 3 all of that was abandoned. Apple moved to a fitness and health first focus, notification triage as a feature, and on-device app experiences.

    The changes were dramatic and constant in the beginning.
    What do you mean by dramatic? What changed in the operating system? How about some UI screenshots?

    I use my Apple Watch as a notification device all the time. Phone calls, text message replays. That's not Digital Touch or sending heartbeats, but it is still communication, which was a tentpole type feature from the beginning. I basically use the Apple Watch in accordance to the original tentpoles: time, fitness, communication, and weather. Don't see any big changes.
    designr9secondkox2dewmeAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 68
    AVP can be a huge success even if it never becomes a huge consumer success. The possibilities for education, training, assisted skills, are staggering.
    9secondkox2Alex1Nnubuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 68
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 184member, administrator, moderator, editor
    tht said:
    What do you mean by dramatic? What changed in the operating system? How about some UI screenshots?

    I use my Apple Watch as a notification device all the time. Phone calls, text message replays. That's not Digital Touch or sending heartbeats, but it is still communication, which was a tentpole type feature from the beginning. I basically use the Apple Watch in accordance to the original tentpoles: time, fitness, communication, and weather. Don't see any big changes.
    You want me to do the research and gather screenshots from an operating system that existed nearly a decade ago because you don't understand my point? Yeah, sorry, no.

    If you believe you're correct, go nuts. Or go look at the information yourself. It's not like I'm unique in my perspective since it's what happened.

    What changed? The entire functionality of the operating system. How apps were loaded. What the buttons did. What data was obtained and processed on device versus on the phone. Native SDKs weren't even available until watchOS 2.

    The platform got turned on its head. Go look into it, it's quite the fascinating history. Or don't, I don't care. lol
    muthuk_vanalingam9secondkox2Alex1Nbikerdudewatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 68
    thttht Posts: 5,437member
    tht said:
    What do you mean by dramatic? What changed in the operating system? How about some UI screenshots?

    I use my Apple Watch as a notification device all the time. Phone calls, text message replays. That's not Digital Touch or sending heartbeats, but it is still communication, which was a tentpole type feature from the beginning. I basically use the Apple Watch in accordance to the original tentpoles: time, fitness, communication, and weather. Don't see any big changes.
    You want me to do the research and gather screenshots from an operating system that existed nearly a decade ago because you don't understand my point? Yeah, sorry, no.

    If you believe you're correct, go nuts. Or go look at the information yourself. It's not like I'm unique in my perspective since it's what happened.

    What changed? The entire functionality of the operating system. How apps were loaded. What the buttons did. What data was obtained and processed on device versus on the phone. Native SDKs weren't even available until watchOS 2.

    The platform got turned on its head. Go look into it, it's quite the fascinating history. Or don't, I don't care. lol
    I don't see that as dramatic. That's standard project engineering on a given schedule and budget. You ship, then you iterate. The first couple of iterations of the product have to be good enough and sell in enough numbers to eventually fund iterations of successive generations. Changes are always made to provide the best features and features that aren't used are removed.

    This is going to the Vision Pro. It's at a minimum viable state, and is going to go through a lot of iteration. Some of the advertised features today will be dropped, others will be leaned into and new ones created.

    I'm just tired of hearing people say the original Apple Watch was not a health and fitness device and Apple had to change direction. That is simply not true.
    designr9secondkox2Alex1Nbageljoeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 68
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 184member, administrator, moderator, editor
    tht said:

    I don't see that as dramatic. That's standard project engineering on a given schedule and budget. You ship, then you iterate. The first couple of iterations of the product have to be good enough and sell in enough numbers to eventually fund iterations of successive generations. Changes are always made to provide the best features and features that aren't used are removed.

    This is going to the Vision Pro. It's at a minimum viable state, and is going to go through a lot of iteration. Some of the advertised features today will be dropped, others will be leaned into and new ones created.

    I'm just tired of hearing people say the original Apple Watch was not a health and fitness device and Apple had to change direction. That is simply not true.
    yeah, we agree on all these points.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 68
    I was doubtful of my ordering until the very last minute that Friday morning. I knew this was the Ultimate early adopter Apple device (cost vs. practicality).

    What pushed me over was:
    1) I suspected that the next models would be a long way out
    2) Darkly, Who knows what the world will be like for the next iteration?
    3) I just wanted to experience it and half an hour in an Apple Store wasn't going to cut it 
    jwdawsoAlex1Nwatto_cobra
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