Apple’s mixed reality headset will be available in several configuration options and have a starting price of $1,999, not the ~$3,000 we have been led to believe, claims a sketchy last-minute rumor coming out of Asia.
Apple headset concept render by Marcus Kane
In the lead-up to Apple’s expected AR/VR headset unveiling at WWDC, rumors have fairly consistently placed the price of the device at around $3,000, which would make it far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900.
The $3,000 figure first appeared in a 2021 report from The Information, and has since been backed by other reputable outlets. Indeed, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, who has called the headset a “pricey, niche precursor” to a more ambitious product, has cautioned that the device won’t initially be aimed at general consumers, but will instead be positioned as a device for developers, content creators, and professionals.
However, according to a rumor picked up by news aggregator account “yeux1122” on the Korean Naver blog, the so-called “Reality One” or “Reality Pro” headset will have a $1,999 starting price. This is closer to ballpark figures quoted by much earlier reports regarding the headset’s nascent development, although the source of this latest rumor is unknown, and the blog has reported inaccurate rumors in the past, so it should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
That said, the rumor does kindle memories of the original iPad launch and Steve Job’s adroit use of the anchoring effect, which influences the perception of value. Before Apple unveiled the iPad, analysts and rumors suggested it would cost $999. Jobs even put this figure on a presentation slide during the announcement, before casually revealing that the real entry price was actually $499. Thanks to the initial price anchor, the audience considered it a great deal.
As for Apple’s looming headset, it will cost the company around $1,500 per unit to manufacture, according to a series of reports that came out of Asia in May 2023. Apple originally planned to sell the headset at a loss, according to Gurman, but then elected to sell it at its approximate cost.
Including packaging, shipping, and marketing, the headset’s total cost is likely well below its rumored retail price of $3,000, but with a much smaller margin than most other Apple products. We could learn the official price of the headset on Monday during Apple’s opening WWDC keynote, but the device isn’t expected to go on sale until much later in the year, perhaps in the run-up to the holiday period.