Apple is gearing up to launch its highly anticipated Vision Pro headset on February 2, with a strategic goal to amplify the accessibility and appeal of mixed reality. This domain has, until now, remained somewhat of a niche technology.
Unveiled at a software conference held in Cupertino, California, eight months ago, the sleek goggles come with a hefty price tag of $3,500 and were showcased as part of an effort to motivate developers to craft applications tailored for a device that projects users into three-dimensional simulations of reality.
The operating system of the Vision Pro headset is slated to be compatible with over one million apps initially designed for the iPhone and iPad, showcasing Apple’s commitment to creating an ecosystem that seamlessly integrates its various devices.
Pre-orders for the Vision Pro will commence on January 19. However, potential buyers will need to visit an Apple store for a personalized fitting of the goggles. Notably, the Vision Pro is controlled using eye movements and a few simple hand gestures.
While companies like Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) and others have been manufacturing virtual reality headsets for years, with limited success in expanding the market beyond video gamers and tech enthusiasts, Apple is widely seen as having the potential to bring mixed reality to a broader audience.
The Vision Pro has already received positive reviews from the media who had the opportunity to test it in tightly controlled demonstrations supervised by Apple. Nevertheless, the premium price point likely means that the device might witness relatively modest unit sales during its initial year on the market.
Despite this, the Vision Pro could play a pivotal role in paving the way for more affordable iterations, opening up the mixed-reality experience to a wider consumer base. Currently, the Vision Pro is priced at seven times more than Meta’s latest virtual reality headset, the Quest 3.
In a strategic move indicating Apple’s anticipation for the Vision Pro to act as a catalyst for a more extensive market, the company has included the capability to capture 3D videos that can be viewed through the goggles on its latest premium iPhones—the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. These realistic 3D videos create an immersive experience, with people and objects appearing as if they are right in front of the viewer.
As Apple seeks avenues to boost its sales, having experienced a slight revenue decline in the last fiscal year ending in September, the Vision Pro represents the company’s first major venture into groundbreaking technology since the introduction of the smartwatch a decade ago. While the initial price point may limit immediate widespread adoption, it positions Apple to lead the way in shaping the future of mixed reality.