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_apple_apple_

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 11, 2021
68
119
The Pro version always has more bells and whistles, so let's discuss what Apple could remove from this headset to bring the cost low enough for wider adoption. Based on what I've read, the most many people say they're willing to spend is $1500.

I'm thinking:
  • No built-in speakers — Apparently these are between AirPods Pro/Max quality, so removing might drop the price ~$500. This is probably why they are clearly their own piece in the modular design.
  • No lenticular front display? — This is a big market differentiator so I'm not sure Apple would drop this to lower costs, but it does seem like an expensive component. Maybe removing could drop the price ~$300?
  • Plastic instead of glass/metal? — Would undercut Apple's style, so quite unlikely, but it could probably drop the price another $300 easily. That front glass panel cannot be cheap to make.
  • Battery pack sold separately? — Very bad PR move but Apple could defend it by saying that it's for consumers who don't plan to use it untethered, so why saddle them with the battery cost? Presumably it would come with a USB-C cable instead.
  • Headstrap sold separately? — I'm not sure Apple would or can sell a simpler strap. A bad strap could cause injury, leading to class action. It might be safer for Apple to sell the headset without a strap, which would also artificially lower the price, probably by ~$200. Like cases/bands, Apple can defer the liability to 3rd parties.
  • Lower-resolution displays? — I don't think Apple would compromise the display, what they have in the Pro is probably the bare minimum, anything less would make the device pointless. Also, this component probably benefits the most from large production numbers.
  • Less sensors? — Again, I assume what's in the pro is bare minimum already. Maybe they can drop a set of cameras on the outside/inside, and compensate with ML or something. If so, maybe this could drop the price by ~$100-200.
Thus, I could see the non-pro version looking like:
  • No built-in speakers
  • Battery pack sold separately (charging cable in box)
  • Strap sold separately (store/website would make this very clear)
  • No external lenticular display
  • Fancy plastic instead of glass front
  • Slightly fewer cameras/sensors, compensated with ML
I could see the above dropping the price down to $1500. Straps will probably be in the $100-200 range, prescription lens are in the $200 range from what I've read. Would still easily cost around $2K USD in total.
 

Longplays

Suspended
May 30, 2023
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Price drop that low will likely occur half a decade later into the 2030s.

At this point in time Apple can afford to only cater to 1 million users in year 1.

That's about the number of Mac Pro users worldwide.
 

_apple_apple_

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 11, 2021
68
119
Price drop that low will likely occur half a decade later into the 2030s.

At this point in time Apple can afford to only cater to 1 million users in year 1.

That's about the number of Mac Pro users worldwide.
I see a lot of people estimating "5-10 years", but tech is evolving very fast, and hardware companies are working on multiple product roadmaps in parallel.

One of the most persistent rumors about this headset is that Apple is already working on a cheaper version; thus they probably started on that more than a year ago. I could see the cheaper model launching as early as Dec 2024, purely to give the current version time on the shelf.
 

Longplays

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The challenger here is not just the price but how alien it is for people to wear headsets.

Remember, there are laws compelling people to wear motorcycle helmets when they ride a motorcycle and yet there are those who insist on not wearing any.

I love Apple devices but even if this sold at $1099 I'd likely go with an iPhone, Mac or iPad.
 

sevoneone

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2010
907
1,166
The simplest way for them to reduce costs is to remove the embedded M2 chip and storage and allow it to be tethered to an existing Mx powered Mac or iPad. Reduce the headset to just the Displays, R1 and sensors. No battery, no outward facing displays.

Stand-alone mobility would be a feature of the Pro, and the regular Vision would need to be tethered via Thunderbolt. Maybe wirelessly in future iterations, which would be interesting because you could potentially have a box the size of an Apple TV with a Pro or Max chip in it that could potentially be the base for more than one tethered headset.
 
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