Apple’s coming augmented reality headset, the Vision Pro, comes with a hefty price tag, but it is expected to stir things up in the industry, which has been stagnating for a while, according to analysts.
Starting from $3,499, Vision Pro will go on sale in the US on February 2 (with orders starting on January 19) and is expected to grow consumer interest, analysts said.
The product is more than about three weeks’ pay for the average American, based on data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.
“Apple’s highly anticipated entry into the XR [extended reality] space has long been expected to mark a watershed moment for the industry,” Harmeet Singh Walia, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, said.
“The consumer interest that Apple’s entry into the space is generating will benefit market incumbents offering competitively priced headsets, towards which many enthusiasts who wish to try the technology without incurring Apple’s hefty price tag would gravitate, boosting the global XR market.”
Worldwide shipments of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR-VR) headsets are expected to decline 8.3 per cent annually to 8.1 million units for 2023, despite the launch of new headsets during the year, according to Massachusetts-based researcher International Data Corporation.
However, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint disputes this, forecasting that AR-VR headset shipments are projected to increase by a record 3.9 million units this year, an annual increase of almost 50 per cent.
“There will be tremendous excitement because it’s a new Apple product and innovation. But keep in mind, this is a first-generation device,” Rolf Illenberger, founder and managing director of software development company VRdirect, told media.
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has described Vision Pro, which is the company’s first major product launch since the Apple Watch in 2015, as a new “era of spatial computing”.
“The post-holiday timing of such a release is aimed at the company’s early adopters and most individuals don’t have a spare over $3,000 to buy a luxury item in the first quarter.”
“That said, if the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, it could spark a new wave of momentum in the entire industry … and not just with Apple, but with Meta and other devices on the market as well,” Mr Illenberger said.
Munich-based VRdirect is at the forefront of utilising VR for enterprise applications, including partnerships with industry giants such as Siemens, Nestle and Porsche.