Apple’s highly anticipated Vision Pro virtual and augmented reality headset is now available for pre-order, with deliveries beginning on March 17. The Vision Pro, which was first announced last year at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, represents the company’s first entry into the VR/AR market.
A High Price Tag for Cutting-Edge Technology
The Vision Pro comes with a steep $3499 price tag, making it one of the most expensive consumer VR devices on the market. However, for that premium pricing, buyers are getting a headset packed with advanced technologies, including:
- Ultra high-resolution displays with retina resolution visuals
- Spatial audio for immersive sound
- Hand tracking and coverage of the full range of human vision
- Lidar scanner and multiple camera views for mixing real world visuals with synthetic content
- Apple’s most powerful mobile processor to date
The Vision Pro set-up also requires a connection to a Mac or iOS device to access content and apps.
During the pre-order process, buyers can choose from three different storage capacity options:
With file sizes for VR content quickly growing large due to rich graphics, the higher capacity models may prove worthwhile for heavy users down the line.
Strong Early Demand Already Apparent
Even with the Vision Pro’s staggering price point, early demand indications point to another hit Apple product launch.
Shipping times for pre-order buyers have already slipped to 4-6 weeks out, signaling that immediate supply is short of satisfying early adopter demand on launch day.
Third party resellers like eBay are also already listing Vision Pro pre-order placements for well above retail pricing – some as high as $5000. This indicates expectations of sell outs persisting for some time after the official March 17 launch.
Developers Eager for Vision Pro Capabilities
The VR/AR developer community has been waiting for years on a headset that can unlock the full potential of these new computing platforms. The processing power and capabilities of the Vision Pro finally open the door for creative developers to build visually stunning, immersive new experiences.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, reinforced that the company has gone all-in on support for developers looking to build content and apps for the Vision Pro:
We can’t wait to see what developers are able to dream up for this groundbreaking device – it represents an entire new creative canvas and technical capability unlike anything we’ve been able to deliver in the past.
Developer tools and resources for building Vision Pro experiences have been available for months already at developer.apple.com.
Over 250 apps and experiences are expected to launch alongside Vision Pro availability on March 17. Gaming and video apps feature prominently amongst the early line-up.
Concerns Over High Repair Costs
While excitement is understandably high over the Vision Pro’s impending launch, some concerns have also been raised about potentially high repair costs for the $3500 device.
Early analysis suggests that replacement fees for a damaged Vision Pro could be as high as $2399 without an AppleCare+ extended warranty. Adding the AppleCare+ coverage at $499 would reduce replacement fees considerably:
|| Repair Costs |
| With AppleCare+ | $149 |
| Without AppleCare+ | Up to $2399 |
The high costs reflect both Apple using more expensive components packed tightly into the headset design, as well as lower economies of scale for repairs due to an entirely new product category. Nonetheless, for buyers making what amounts to a multi-thousand dollar VR investment, the Peace of Mind offered by AppleCare+ may prove attractive.
Long Term Potential to Disrupt Multiple Industries
While the Vision Pro will likely only attract early tech adopter consumers at launch, Apple clearly has much bigger long-term plans for VR/AR technologies across both consumer and enterprise use cases.
Tim Cook has gone so far as to suggest the impact of augmented reality could rival that of the iPhone:
I think AR is extremely important to Apple’s future. I think it’s something that doesn’t exist today but will be hugely important tomorrow. I think it’s profound. I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area.
Industry analysts have conjectured that subsequent future Vision headset iterations could replace iPhones entirely in 5 to 10 years as AR capabilities advance.
The Vision Pro for now sets the pace with leading specification VR/AR hardware paired with Apple’s renowned intuitive software capabilities. This power should have both developers and consumers excited about experiencing immersive new ways to connect, learn, and be entertained through these breakthrough extended realities.
While the potential remains sky-high, Apple still has much work to do in demonstrating how this radical departure into uncharted technological territory will fit into both its existing ecosystems, as well as our daily lives. Early Vision Pro adopters stand primed to take that exploratory plunge first-hand into our augmented and virtual realities future.
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