Apple Vision Pro - the VR headset to rule them all or a completely new product category?

The Apple Vision Pro is a technological marvel, but what impact will it have?

Apple Vision Pro - the VR headset to rule them all or a completely new product category?

For the last decade, Silicon Valley has worked on the next computing platform to follow the smartphone. They all seem to agree that it’ll be some kind of computer that sits on your face and that it’s worth spending billions of dollars to develop. But only one company has the software and hardware capabilities to pull it off, the same company that introduced that past computing platform, and this week, the world got a chance to buy the thing.

The Apple Vision Pro is a headset with the computing power of a Macbook, the weight of an iPad, and two screens with 23 million pixels, each as small as a human blood cell. Or, to put it in human terms, it’s a ridiculously impressive piece of consumer technology. It’s miles ahead of any other VR headset and possibly the best headset that can be made from a hardware perspective. The software and interface seem equally impressive and well designed like you would expect from Apple, but with room for improvement - after all, this is the first version of the product; just think about how much the iPhone has improved since the first was introduced in 2007.

So what does it do?

Well, you can create huge floating screens - think like having infinite floating iPads or the biggest home cinema in the world. You can use it as an external screen for your Mac, browser the web, write E-mails, and do all the standard stuff you’d do with a computer, just with infinite screens. Full disclaimer: I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I’ve watched reviews and tried every other VR headset since 2017.

So it’s a computer, not a metaverse?

Yes, it’s very much a computer and very much not a gaming console. I’d compare the Apple headset to a MacBook rather than a PlayStation. So it’s a different strategic path than Meta has been on with the Quest headsets. Apple has not shown virtual worlds you can wander around and explore. They have rather shown stationary experiences watching movies and working with a computer.

It costs $3.500, will anyone even buy it?

Compared to any other Apple product, no one will buy the Apple Vision Pro. Rumors say that only 400.000 headsets will be made this year and that half of these have been sold since the pre-orders started last week. For comparison, Meta has sold 20 million Quest headsets, Sony has sold over 100 million PlayStation 4 consoles, and Apple has sold over 2 billion iPhones in total. So no, no one is (really) gonna buy it. But I predict that a lot of people will try it at one of the Apple stores, and millions of people trying on a headset at this level, essentially experiencing the best version of blended physical and digital worlds there is, will definitely get waaay more people excited about VR, AR, and spatial computing. Just look at how XR startups closed over $800 million in extra funding in January. Brace yourselves. The XR summer is coming.

Cool, so how does this apply to Hololink and AR marketing?

  1. Millions of people will walk into one of the 500+ Apple Stores around the globe, try the Apple Vision Pro, experience how amazing AR can be, not buy it (because it costs $3.500 and will likely be sold out), and then go on to seek AR experiences elsewhere (that’s where we come in)

  1. This will get people more excited about AR than ever - think Metaverse hype, but this time, people have actually tried it, loved it, and can therefore see how it can actually be used.

  2. …and the Apple Vision Pro will be the first Apple product to support WebXR, and thus Web-based augmented reality. This means you’ll be able to view Hololinks on it in the future.

So, in summary, the Apple Vision Pro is a technological marvel as a computer, but it’s still unclear what people will use it for. It’s important to remember that besides all the flashy marketing, this is the first generation of an Apple product, so there’s still massive room for improvement. It’s also a Pro device targeted at early adopters and pro users. The Apple Vision (Air?) will most likely be much more widely adopted. Last year, Apple purchased a startup called Mira, which created a Google Cardboard-style, cheaper AR headset, so there’s little doubt that a more affordable version will eventually come.

One thing is for sure: I’ll be heading to the nearest Apple Store to try the Apple Vision Pro as soon as possible, and I’ll share my experience on the Hololink blog.

Lucas Nygaard, CSO @ Hololink

The Apple Vision Pro is a technological marvel, but what impact will it have?


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