Even more rumors suggest that Apple’s mixed-reality headset could be priced at over $2,000 at launch (around £1,500 / AU$2,750).
While Apple has yet to officially announce its VR and AR plans, multiple leaks have suggested the tech giant is developing an Apple MR headset as well as a pair of AR-capable Apple Glasses.
This latest price rumor comes from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his Power On newsletter (opens in new tab) and follows a slew of other leaks from the past week concerning Apple’s virtual reality efforts.
Yet, rather than making us more excited to see what Apple has been developing each detail has made its VR and AR plans sound increasingly unappealing. If Apple has dreams of competing with Meta in the VR space it may need to change its plans, or else it could find its MR headset is dead on arrival.
Opinion: The wrong price at the wrong time
Based on what we’ve recently heard about Apple’s MR headset, we can expect a product that will be as powerful as the M1 MacBook Pro, will offer comprehensive virtual and augmented reality experiences and will weigh less than 150g; sounds almost too good to be true.
Unfortunately, everything comes at a price. The headset is expected to cost somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 range, but we’ve also heard that you’ll only be able to play for short bursts (likely due to intentional battery constraints) and we won’t be able to wear it until 2023.
By this time Apple’s largest competitor in the space, Meta, will likely have launched two headsets that threaten to squeeze Apple out before it can even enter the space.
The first of those Meta devices is Project Cambria, which is expected to drop this year based on the company’s comments during its 2021 keynote. This high-end focused VR headset will cost more than its Oculus Quest line of devices, but will offer improved features that facilitate more immersive experiences.
The second device would be the long-awaited Oculus Quest 3, and if both of these headsets do launch by 2023, then an Apple headset would find itself fighting a battle at both ends.
Users who want a great VR experience without paying thousands would opt for an Oculus Quest 3 – which would likely be priced around $250-$400 to match the Oculus Quest 2. Meanwhile, players and businesses after a premium option could go with Project Cambria – which is likely to launch for under $2,000 to continue Meta’s success with affordable VR headsets.
On top of that, Meta's digital store is filled with a bevy of excellent exclusive Oculus Quest 2 games that would be playable on its new systems, and by 2023 it may have added GTA San Andreas VR to its lineup.
Unless Apple has some killer apps at its disposal the only thing that its MR headset would have going for it is augmented reality, but the Oculus Quest 2 already has some limited AR tools, and so Meta may have the head start in this area too.
Even if the rumored inclusion of a powerful M1 chip comes to pass, it sounds like Apple's headset will only be able to be used in short bursts anyway.
There’s a chance we could see Apple’s plans change. We’ve heard recently that Apple is delaying the device into 2023, due to ongoing development issues, but it's possible Apple is just biding its time and looking to release the best version of the product it can.
That said, Apple is a company that likes to do its own thing, for better or worse – so whenever it chooses to announce its MR headset, it might be stuck with a product we can’t see anyone wanting.
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