Apple Vision Pro is incredibly expensive, but not for the reason you think


Apple’s plans to conquer the augmented reality market with an AR headset called the Vision Pro, which costs three and a half thousand dollars a piece.

I don’t believe that’s really true.

Yes, the Vision Pro appears to be better than the other headsets on the market. It looks alright on your head, if you don’t mind wearing ski goggles. It’s technically far more advanced than anything else we’ve seen. And it has the strength of Apple’s ecosystem behind it, meaning there will be thousands of apps for this thing in about a year.

But from the comments I’ve seen online, most people are stuck on the price. Rightfully so: At $3,499, the Vision Pro is far more expensive than comparable headsets, such as Meta’s $499.99 Quest 3, and the $999.99 Meta Quest Pro. Frankly, it’s not even in the same category, and I can imagine many a VR/AR enthusiasts throwing their hands up in disgust when they heard Apple’s price tag for the Vision Pro. Even the price of Apple stock sharply declined(opens in a new tab) during the Vision Pro announcement, likely because the market thinks that a very pricy headset is not something that will do wonders for Apple’s revenue.

The price is high for a reason, and it may not be what you think. Yes, the Vision Pro probably costs a fortune to produce. With an M2 and a new R1 chip inside, a dozen cameras, and a bunch of sensors, it surely costs Apple quite a bit of money to make this beast.

But the real reason why Apple has launched a headset this powerful and this expensive, I think, is that this one is not meant for the masses. It’s a device for developers, and perhaps a handful of enthusiasts, to play with. Apple surely doesn’t expect to sell millions of these at $3,499 a piece.

Apple Vision Pro

No matter how sleek this looks in promo photos, Apple will surely be working on a way to connect the battery to the headset in a more elegant manner.
Credit: Apple

In fact, I bet that Apple doesn’t even want to sell too many. The company may not be able to produce the headset at very high volume, but even more importantly, Apple probably doesn’t want the Vision Pro to be in too many hands until the numerous new experiences it offers are significantly refined.

Consider the launch date, too. According to Apple, the Vision Pro will launch “early next year.” Reader, it’s early June. This means that there’s at least a six month wait until the Vision Pro is even available; possibly a few months more. Apple typically doesn’t announce products this early before general availability. Another thing: The Vision Pro will initially be available only in the U.S., with more countries coming(opens in a new tab) “later next year” according to Apple. That could mean that many potential users will have to wait a year or more until they can buy the headset.

Prior to the launch of Vision Pro, we’ve heard rumors that Apple actually has one or even two more headsets in the pipeline. Now that the Vision Pro is out, this makes even more sense to me. A cheaper version of the headset – reportedly costing roughly as much as an iPhone – could come in 2024. And that one, launching when there’s already a healthy third party app ecosystem for Apple’s virtual world, will be the headset that Apple expects to sell by the millions.

My point here is that there’s little reason to get mad at the Vision Pro’s exorbitantly high price tag. The Vision Pro is a technology showcase, a device that shows the world what can be done with AR when you have a lot of research and development money to spend (Apple says it filed over 5,000 patents related to the Vision Pro). The actual Apple headset that us common folks should even consider buying is the one that comes after the Vision Pro.





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