In recent years, headsets with AR/VR capabilities have become all the rage. With Meta and Sony investing heavily in related hardware, the market seems to be expanding – to a limited extent. Apple is set to launch its own mixed-reality headset this year. With a rumored price tag of $3000, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman warns that the headset may very well end up flopping in the market.
Gurman unsure if Apple’s forthcoming headset will end up becoming a hallmark product for the company
In the latest edition of his “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman reveals that Apple has high hopes for its mixed-reality headset. Gurman says that ” some within the company believe that the first model will offer consumers a taste of that tantalizing vision.” However, functionality is not enough to make a product successful.
The headset, likely to be called Reality Pro, will likely be launched in the first half of 2023. It will offer dual 4K displays to a flexible OLED, more than a dozen cameras, and more. While those specifications sound attractive on paper, it is difficult to gauge if that will be enough from a consumer standpoint.
Will that be enough to make the headset a success? That’s harder to say. While I believe the push into augmented and virtual reality could someday lead to the iPhone’s successor, there’s a real possibility that this first headset turns into something Apple hasn’t had in years: a bomb.
The $3000 price tag will likely be the biggest obstacle that Apple will have to face when marketing the headset.
It will undoubtedly be a marvel and far more advanced than anything else on the market. But it will also be impractical and too expensive for most consumers. That’s because it will only last about two hours per charge, not work well outdoors, launch with a limited array of content and feature a design that some have deemed uncomfortable.
Gurman goes on to say that Apple has historically succeeded in already-developed markets. Think of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. There was an obvious demand for those products. With the headset, Apple will be operating in a niche.
The headset will also mark a strategy shift for Apple. When it entered previous categories — music players, phones, tablets and watches — there was already mainstream interest in the products. Apple’s goal was just to create something better and beat the competition.
AR/VR headsets, in contrast, are still a nascent field. Consumers will need some coaxing just to get them to consider such a product.
Apple itself expects modest demand for the product. The company plans to produce one million units in the first year. If we think of the iPad, iPad, and even the Apple Watch, Apple sold millions of those products in the first months after their launch.
Given that Apple is delving into undiscovered territory with the product, Gurman speculates that its reputation as a “guaranteed hitmaker” may end up getting tarnished. On the flip side, it is entirely possible that the $3000 Reality Pro will end up replacing the iPhone as Apple’s hallmark product.