Apple has had to reduce projected production numbers for its new device in the face of what is expected to be low demand.
Author, Tom Gerken
Role, BBC News
February 2, 2024
Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset went on sale this February 2 in the United States.
The Vision Pro is the company’s first major release since the Apple Watch in 2015. The device costs $3,499.
This new release has already had some problems. As a result, according to the Financial Times, Apple has more than halved its production forecasts, from an estimated one million to 400,000 units.
The company also announced that the device will have 256GB of storage and clarified that the headset’s eye-tracking technology can work by monitoring only one dominant eye, for people who do not have full use of both eyes.
Apple is trying to differentiate its product from other devices on the market, and has told headset developers to identify their applications as “spatial computing.”
“Do not describe your app experience as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), or mixed reality (MR),” he said in a blog post aimed at these professionals.
As part of its commercial strategy, it has also released an online trailer, featuring movie characters wearing glasses and helmets, in what appears to be an attempt to recreate the hype that surrounded the launch of the iPhone in 2007.
If successful, Apple will have found a new multibillion-dollar source of revenue. But at a time when inflation has caused many people around the world to struggle to meet their basic needs, this may not be a reality.
Vision Pro Competitors
Another of the technological giants, Meta, has opted for a lower-priced viewer, in a market that has not yet taken off.
Its Quest 3 costs US$499 in the United States.
Even though the price is lower, it has also struggled to achieve massive sales volume.
One of the problems that these devices seem to be facing is discomfort due to prolonged use, another factor why they have not become popular.
The BBC test
The BBC had the opportunity to test the Vision Pro in June last year and found both advantages and disadvantages to the experience.
We were one of the few media outlets in the world allowed to test the device, but we were not allowed to take photos or record videos.
Unlike many of the devices available, Apple has separated the battery from its Vision Pro so that it does not feel as much weight on the head, although this means that the battery is connected to a cable next to the user.
The user experience is classic and minimalist Apple. Once you put on the glasses, you see the room around you, but not through the glass, but through the multiple integrated cameras.
This is what is called “mixed reality”: digital content projected into your environment.
To open applications, the user must press a single button located at the top right of the viewer. This is how the familiar icons of the usual applications on the iPhone will appear: iMessage, Photos, Apple TV, a list that will increase as developers create new ones.
From that moment on, everything is controlled with gestures. The viewfinder tracks where you are looking. When you look at an app icon and pinch your thumb and forefinger together, it opens.
The level of immersion can be regulated using a physical dial that increases or decreases the size of the images displayed. It is up to the user whether they want to fill the entire room or appear as a television screen superimposed on your wall.
However, if someone approaches you in real life, you’ll be able to see them no matter how immersed you are.
Every time there was a problem with the demo during the presentation to a small group of media, an Apple employee reminded us that it was not yet a final product. Apple did not allow recording, which prevented images of those inconveniences from being shared online.