A new report about the rumored Apple VR headset predicts that it’ll set you back upwards of $2,000 (£1,655 / AU$2,875) – roughly five times what Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 costs.
While Apple has yet to officially talk about its rumored Apple VR headset, various leaks and rumors have given us a pretty clear idea of what the device will be capable of. This standalone headset – meaning it wouldn’t run off a PC or PS5 like the Valve Index and PlayStation VR 2 – could be one of the best VR headsets ever made with a power that’s comparable to an M1-powered Mac computer.
However, it’s also likely to cost as much as a MacBook, with a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying that Apple plans to ship the headset at a price between $2,000 and $2,500 – significantly more than any previous consumer-focussed VR device.
Kuo adds that because of its price Apple expects to sell fewer than 1.5 million of the headset in 2023. For context, that is roughly one-tenth of the total number of Oculus Quest 2 headsets that Meta has sold since its launch in October 2020.
As with all rumors we have to remember to take this one with a pinch of salt, but Kuo’s track record at predicting details about Apple’s tech means it’s worth paying attention to. However, on this occasion, we hope he’s wrong.
Who wants to buy a $2,000 VR headset?
This kind of price is not out of the question when it comes to Apple’s gadgets – with its most premium products often carrying a hefty cost to potential customers. A high cost seems especially likely for its VR headset as it has spent several years stuck in development, which means Apple could be keen to recuperate its sunk costs.
However, while Apple has reportedly succeeded in making an accessible device in terms of its capabilities and form factor – with Kuo’s report yet again hinting it’ll be an ultra-slim wearable – it’s ignored the biggest factor that helped the Quest 2 succeed: an affordable price tag.
Until a recent price increase, Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 set you back just $299 / £299 / AU$479. This headset also doesn’t need a high-end PC or console to help run it and was far and away the cheapest mainstream headset on the market. Considering VR is still something of a novelty compared to similar yet more established industries like computing and gaming, the Quest 2’s price was a decent entry fee.
Need more evidence that a low price is important for success? The Quest 2 actually had some downgrades compared to its predecessors – even the original Oculus Quest – to help bring its price to an all-time low. Yet despite issues in its first six months on sale, the Quest 2 had sold more units than all other Oculus VR headsets combined had sold over five years.
But not only is the price of Apple’s headset a concern, the VR experiences it offers might not do its sales any favors.
Meta and Sony’s VR platforms are home to some of the best VR games ever made, and collaborations with renowned developers mean iconic franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto are expected to get VR entries in the near future. If Apple expects users to pay an arm and leg for its VR headset, it’ll need to convince us its headset can give us something just as good. Apple's track record in the gaming space up to this point doesn't fill us with confidence that its hardware can deliver.
We'll have to wait and see what Apple announces, but if its headset is as expensive as it's rumored to be and doesn't give us something mind-blowing in return we can't see ourselves leaving behind Meta's cheaper hardware any time soon.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.