Why Apple’s AR/VR Headset Will Cost So Much

Here’s why Apple’s AR/VR headset might start at $2,000, almost three times as much as an Oculus Quest 2, and it isn’t just the so-called Apple tax.

Apple is expected to launch its first augmented reality and virtual reality headset in the next several months, and rumors suggest it will be much more expensive than products currently available from Meta and others. It’s a common claim that all Apple products are costly, but that is no longer true. For example, Apple’s iPhone SE is just $399, and the Apple Watch SE is $329. A low-cost Apple VR headset is possible. However, the general consensus is that pricing won’t restrict the potential of this product.

Apple’s plans for the future will probably include a budget model of every product it makes. There’s a lower-cost iPhone, iPad, AirPods, MacBook, Mac desktop, and, in 2020, even a budget Apple Watch and HomePod were introduced. As any product line matures, filling in a range of prices is a great way to invite more people to join in on the experience. However, when starting a new product category, Apple usually doesn’t want to limit a device, particularly if the competition has a head start. So to carve out a chunk of the market, Apple has to differentiate itself by offering more features or a better experience.


Related: Insider Reveals The Wild Tech Behind Apple’s AR/VR Headset

Leaks and rumors about Apple’s AR/VR headset indicate that this will be the most powerful standalone virtual reality device on the market, making it a high-end device. A recent Bloomberg newsletter suggests a starting price of at least $2,000. High-performance hardware will play a significant role in this premium cost, and Apple’s headset is expected to have a processor that is at least as fast as the M1 Pro that powers the 2021 MacBook Pro. While this isn’t Apple’s very best chip, it will be competing against other portable VR systems that are more like smartphones than computers. A strong processor is needed to drive the rumored 8K resolution panels and advanced hand-tracking and environment-recognizing features. These hardware specifications match up well with the 14-inch MacBook Pro that starts at $1,999 with an M1 Pro chip and advanced XDR display.

Apple AR/VR Details & Launch Date

Apple AR/VR Mixed Reality Headset Render

Apple’s AR/VR headset is said to have the option of using interchangeable prescription lenses, making it much more comfortable and optimizing the imagery to suit every owner perfectly. Advanced audio technology is also planned to give the Spatial Audio experience that AirPods Pro owners have enjoyed, along with the three-dimensional visuals possible with an AR and VR headset. There is evidence that Apple has been working on this technology for many years and has amassed some significant research and development costs. Rather than copying existing systems, Apple is forging its own path through this new reality, and an entirely new operating system is in the works.

Apple patents, along with supply chain leaks, and Apple’s hirings, make it clear that this is a very active project, and there have been suggestions in the last few years that an Apple VR headset was coming soon. Naturally, the pandemic threw a wrench into the plans of many tech companies, and Apple had to rally its forces to launch the new Apple Silicon Mac computers, a redesigned iPhone, and even a new look for the Apple Watch. As a result, Apple’s AR/VR headset was delayed, and the latest indication is that it won’t launch until 2023. However, there is a chance that a preview of Apple’s secretive AR/VR headset will be given sometime in 2022, possibly as early as June.

Next: How Apple’s VR Headset Might Prevent Crashing Into Furniture

Source: Bloomberg

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