Apple's recent announcement of the revolutionary Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset has sparked excitement and speculation among tech enthusiasts. However, just days after the unveiling, reports are already surfacing about a more affordable model in the works.
During the WWDC keynote, Apple captivated the audience with a meticulously detailed presentation, culminating in the highly anticipated "One More Thing" announcement of the Apple Vision Pro. This cutting-edge headset is poised to surpass its competitors in the realm of mixed reality.
Although Apple didn't typically disclose pricing details for products months before their release, they surprised us this time. The company revealed that the Vision Pro would carry a starting price of $3,499. However, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who shared insights in his Power On newsletter, Apple is already focused on developing a cheaper alternative to ensure widespread adoption.
While Apple's forward-thinking approach is no surprise, the introduction of a more affordable version is somewhat unexpected. Historically, Apple has released its products, gradually introducing advanced iterations. However, with the Vision Pro already announced, the possibility of a lower-cost variant seems increasingly likely. Gurman speculates that a non-Pro version, possibly named the Apple Vision or Apple Vision One, might be on the horizon.
While Gurman's prediction of the current model's name proved inaccurate, his suggestion of a more accessible version aligns with Apple's intention to reach a broader audience. Nevertheless, developing a cheaper alternative poses significant challenges. Gurman acknowledges the difficulty of achieving cost reduction while maintaining profitability, given that the production cost of the Vision Pro is already close to its price tag.
Initial skepticism surrounding the Vision Pro quickly dissipated when individuals had the opportunity to try on the headset. Almost unanimously, those who experienced it firsthand were captivated by its capabilities. Gurman proposes cost-saving measures such as omitting built-in speakers and relying on separately-purchased AirPods for audio, a plausible approach. However, his suggestion of utilizing lower-quality screens seems less plausible, as the display quality is a standout feature of the Vision Pro. Similarly, removing the 3D camera, as Gurman proposes, may be a consideration, although it complements the headset's design and functionality.
Even with these potential modifications, the more affordable version may not see a significant price drop. Gurman estimates that combined with streamlined production processes, economies of scale, and a cheaper frame, Apple could potentially reduce the price by several hundred dollars. However, even with these adjustments, the cost is still projected to exceed $3,000, making it far from an affordable option like the iPhone SE compared to the iPhone Pro models.
While Apple aims to create a more budget-friendly and accessible headset, it is likely to prioritize economies of scale rather than compromising on component quality. Gurman anticipates that the new model could hit the market by the end of 2025, allowing ample time for refinement. Additionally, he suggests that Apple has plans for a second Pro model with a faster processor, indicating a two-product strategy akin to the standard iPhone and iPhone Pro lineup.
One thing is evident: Apple is making a bold bet on the success of the Vision Pro and the technologies that will follow. With ongoing development and the promise of more innovation, the tech giant remains committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of augmented and mixed reality.