Skepticism surrounds Apple’s big Vision Pro headsets reveal

Mixed reality future or flop?
Skepticism surrounds Apple’s big Vision Pro headsets reveal
Vision Pro headsets

Apple announced its first new major product line since 2014 when it kicked off its 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference this Monday. Its newest headset, the Vision Pro will cost $3,499 when it launches early next year.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset will run on visionOS, also a brand-new platform. The headset features exterior cameras for users to interact with digital content in mixed reality for a duration of 2 hours on a battery pack before a recharge is required. High-speed IR cameras and LED illuminators track a user’s eyes to free them from “clumsy” controllers, Apple said.

The headsets’ 23-million pixel panel can be controlled with hands, eyes, and voice, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said.

Funny enough, Apple stock dropped around $5 from its $184.95 high on the day when markets reacted to the news, perhaps reflecting critical reviews by observers who are not too keen on the product’s future.

Read: Apple’s iPhone sales fuel profit growth

What some experts say

Michael Gartenberg, technology journalist and former Apple marketing executive told Bloomberg the headset may be “one of the great tech flops of all time.”

Gartenberg believed Apple’s headset was a risky proposition because of the current lack of demand for similar headsets and low sales from competitors in the space like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens,

The $3,500 price tag is also not within reach of everyday people and looks pricey in a global economic environment at the precipice of a recession.

Early testers of the ski-like goggle headset report it being uncomfortable.

“Apple builds devices that can be sold in the millions with a solid profit margin, not high cost ‘experiments’ to be unveiled in public and sold to developers or enthusiasts with deep pockets,” Gartenberg said. “This is a doomed model that Google tried with Glass & Microsoft with HoloLens.”

Apple has reportedly been working on its mixed reality headset for seven years and had previously failed to meet set deadlines to release it in 2019 and 2022.

Apple has shown its intent and readiness to enter the metaverse era, but some think it’s not wise to ramp up efforts to push into the metaverse, deemed by detractors a potentially failed idea. 2022 was supposed to be the year of the metaverse, but the technology which looked to onboard millions to a new vision of the internet did not fulfill its promise and many believe that it won’t be before 2030 that real adoption will pick up.

Apple has already adjusted its sales forecast sales of its mixed-reality goggles from 3 million units to 900,000, according to Bloomberg.

The metaverse is also having to deal with the GenAI hype, although admittedly, the technology could be embedded within metaverse worlds, or Web 3.0, the future of the internet.

Apple is no pushover, and evidence of that is in its iPhone sales which hit $205 billion per the company filings. It looks to repeat this year with Q1 sales reaching over$ 51 billion. Surely it has a working strategy to prove naysayers wrong.

On June 1, Zuckerberg announced the Meta Quest 3 headset will be 40% thinner than the previous model while doubling the graphics performance.

As Apple presses ahead with its mixed-reality headsets, Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management and longtime Apple supporter, believes Apple is “not going to sell very many units” of the headset device in the coming months as the company attempts to win over developers before consumers.

Regardless, it looks like Apple has little choice but to try and make the metaverse a hit if it hopes to make its latest product launch a success.

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