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  • Apple's AR & VR headset will launch into a poorly defined market

    For any product to make sense for Apple it must move the revenue needle.  Not an easy lift for a product in a company whose revenue is upwards of $200b/year.  Aside from the occasional 'flop' (think HomePod, Airport, Apple TV), all of Apple's products sell in the tens of millions and sell for less than $1000.  Macs are a special category for Apple because, although they no longer move the company's revenue needle much, they're the tool its developers use to CREATE Apple content for those other, more successful devices.  Apple does sell them at a much higher price point, but it also sells only relatively few.

    So a VR product, if the $2k price point proves accurate, would be an outlier like the Mac.  But, unlike the Mac, a VR set is simply a consumption device like an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.  But what is the potential market size for VR headsets?  I did a quick google and in all of 2022, there were less than 10m units sold.  If Apple were to magically take over the entire market in 2023 and sell 10m units, it would be a colossal failure.  Certainly Apple Watch was considered a failure when it 'only' sold 10m units the first year.  Of course AW eventually turned into a big money maker for Apple - but that's because its potential market was pretty much every human on earth willing to put down $350.  How many humans will plunk down $2000 for a device that lets them play some games but, more or less, requires them to stay in their home unless they want to get ridiculed?

    So how could a VR headset make sense for Apple?  I only see two ways: (1) the price point of $2k that everyone rumors about is way off and Apple sells it in the <$1k range as all its other products and even then, the headset has to look a lot more like glasses than the goggles for it to take hold on any scale; (2) the VR headset is mainly a tool Apple make available to developers for creating AR/VR content for a few VR gamers/business AND for the upcoming real money maker: the AR glasses.  Maybe it'll be a combination of (1) and (2).

    The AR glasses that come next will - by Tim Cook's own admission a couple years ago - be Apple's probable next big money maker.  Huge potential there for Apple to sell a pair of AR glasses to every iPhone owner out there (I assume as I always have that most of the cpu/networking/storage will continue to take place on iPhone so the glasses can be light enough and last all day).

  • Kuo doubles down on iPhone 15 Pro having no physical buttons

    If I can no longer press the volume buttons through fabric when the phone is in my pocket, that would be an added inconvenience, and if I can no longer glance at the ringer switch to see if the ringer is on, that too would be a step in the wrong direction. It’s hard to imagine any advantages to the user that would more than make up for these drawbacks. It’s not like the current waterproofing is insufficient for my needs.
    Agree with the first point - and add potential impact on case design as many cases cover up those buttons and rely on mechanical movement through their material - but the second point is not really relevant as Kuo has made no mention of replacing the ringer switch.