Why Apple launching its $3,500 Vision Pro with all the bells and whistles is genius
Many are understandably shocked at the $3,500 price tag of Apple’s new mixed-reality device, the Vision Pro, especially since its use cases remain unclear.
Here’s why it’s a genius move by Apple. No one knows what features will be useful yet. External facing display, foveated rendering, 12 ms latency, an external battery, eye tracking, and a hands-only input method.
This device at $3,500 has all the bells and whistles. Developers will comb through all this and figure out what parts they need to use to build a set of killer features, then Apple will create the subsequent devices to streamline costs towards those specific use cases.
Take Apple Watch. Apple launched the Apple Watch in 2015 without really knowing how people would use it. Turns out by series 3 Apple and the rest of us figured out that health was the killer app.
They got rid of luxury/fashion icon selling points and focused on health use cases: EKG, heart issue detection, ovulation, etc.
The Vision Pro seems to be following the same playbook. The mixed-reality use cases are yet to be discovered. Meta’s approach with their Quest products was to primarily focus on gaming, locking out many developers from distributing on their App Store, which currently hosts fewer than 600 apps. This higher and unclear barrier to entry created a high-risk environment for developers, particularly those looking to create non-gaming apps, as getting onto their store is uncertain, and the review process is lengthy.
In contrast, Apple’s developer approach is far more inclusive. Their App Store review and feedback process is exceptionally efficient, reliable, and fast. They have a thriving developer community that trusts Apple to continue investing in their products and providing support. Equipping these developers with the ludicrously advanced Vision Pro, Apple can sit back and let the community figure out the potential applications.
While Meta has found success in gaming, building a non-gaming app for a platform that takes months to review and may not even accept the app is unattractive to me, and I believe, many others. Why risk building on a platform that doesn’t seem to want you?
Apple’s unwavering commitment to developers will ensure that their products get reviewed and onto the App Store in a timely manner. As a result, a vast number of developers will be eager to port existing apps and create new, dedicated ones for the Vision Pro. These apps will be ready for consumers from the first day of the public release. The developers will identify the killer app, future Apple VR products will be optimized for that use case, and the costs will come down as the customer base grows.
In terms of custom silicon, latency, developer support, ecosystem, and hardware capabilities, Meta is trailing Apple by about a decade. Yes, the Vision Pro is pricey today, but the potential it holds for the future is vast. Now, it’s up to us developers to discover that killer app.