Apple: Vision Pro headset looks good but offers no new ideas for VR

There’s constructing suspense after which there’s forcing your viewers to take a seat via a two hour presentation earlier than asserting that your hotly anticipated, much-delayed digital actuality headsets received’t go on sale till subsequent yr.

By the point Apple unveiled its VR goggles on Monday, the share worth had misplaced its intraday file excessive. Doubtless culprits embrace lack of compelling content material, a excessive price ticket and the 2024 launch date.

Apple is a professional at stylish design and high quality displays. However are VR headsets a superb use of its $166bn money and marketable securities pile? Restricted battery life and ponderous suits nonetheless plague the sector. Meta’s VR unit reported falling income and an working lack of practically $4bn previously quarter. Apple has not damaged out figures exhibiting the price of growth.

The corporate’s curved, ski-goggle fashion headsets look extra comfy than most. Twelve cameras and numerous sensors video the true world then overlay VR — which means wearers could be immersed in on-line life with out tripping over their shoelaces. As a substitute of handheld units, controls are hand or voice activated. There’s a spooky trying show that exhibits the wearer’s eyes if persons are close by and an annoying wire connected to an exterior battery pack.

Show high quality is excessive. The headset has 23mn pixels. As Apple says, that’s greater than a 4K TV in entrance of every eye. It’s powered by Apple’s personal M2 chips and a brand new chip known as R1, a part of its ongoing willpower to cut back reliance on exterior suppliers comparable to Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Apple is never first off the block. LG Electronics launched a touchscreen smartphone earlier than the iPhone and Samsung was promoting smartwatches earlier than the Apple Watch. Nevertheless it has a file of promoting standard, high-quality variations of {hardware}.

At $3,499, nevertheless, Apple has not priced its Imaginative and prescient Professional to be mass-consumer pleasant. They’re seven instances costlier than Meta’s newest model, for instance. But the presentation was not enterprise-focused both. Maybe it hopes to kick-start a brand new market of apps from third-party builders.

To displace the iPhone’s significance to Apple income, it could have to promote practically 60mn headsets a yr. This appears unlikely. Fortunately for Apple, it has the means to experiment. Free money movement final yr was 5 instances the scale of Meta’s. Chief government Tim Cook dinner can afford to check out VR with out betting Apple’s future on the tech.

In case you are a subscriber and wish to obtain alerts when Lex articles are printed, simply click on the button “Add to myFT”, which seems on the prime of this web page above the headline.

Back To Top