Apple Vision Pro’s High Price is Not a Problem Because It’s a COMPUTER, not a Peripheral — Jeff Yang

Before we close out this week of Apple Vision Pro, here’s a really good point that’s not being covered much (at all?) from my colleague and IFTF research head, Jeff Yang:

Still can’t get over how much people miss the point of Apple Vision Pro. It isn’t a peripheral like Quest. It’s a FULL COMPUTER. You don’t need any other device to use it—though it’s integrated with the Apple ecosystem.

$3500 for a COMPUTER isn’t outrageous.

Apple has built a mobile spatial computer that you could (supposedly) comfortably use for a full work day. To use their own (kind of cringey brand language), this is meant to be MacBook Air Nano — but Pro Max.

None of this would be possible without massive AI advances, Apple’s huge investment in biometrics, screen optimization, sensor integration and custom chips, and yes, its single-minded emphasis on privacy.

These are all things that Meta has not pursued or prioritized, which is why Zuck doesn’t get what Apple is doing.

He’s referring to Zuckerberg’s first thoughts on the Vision Pro sent to Meta employees:

From what I’ve seen initially, I’d say the good news is that there’s no kind of magical solutions that they have to any of the constraints on laws of physics that our teams haven’t already explored and thought of. They went with a higher resolution display, and between that and all the technology they put in there to power it, it costs seven times more and now requires so much energy that now you need a battery and a wire attached to it to use it. They made that design trade-off and it might make sense for the cases that they’re going for. 

This, suggests Jeff, means Zuckerberg is missing the form factor forest for the XR trees:

It’s not just making design tradeoffs.

Apple has made fundamental choices for years in order to create a new category of device that is meant to replace the computer.

To be clear I know Quest is capable of operating on a standalone basis. I have one. But it’s not designed to be a true laptop replacement (at least yet?) — there’s really no world in which you’re going to productively spend 8 hours a day on your Quest.

Apple is going another way.

It makes sense of course: they’re each trying to future proof their businesses. Zuck is trying to build the next social network, and Apple the next general computing device.

Emphasis mine, because wow. I myself missed this crucial distinction, what with focusing on the Pro’s metaverse platform applications.

Seen that way, it makes more sense to think of Vision Pro as the next generation of a high-end desktop computer, like the Mac Pro. (Which is priced as high as $6999!) As with a desktop PC, the Vision Pro is basically designed for dedicated home and office use with a core focus on productivity apps.

That also points to the Vision Pro’s potential market, at least in the near/medium term: Mainly for business and development use which requires high-end performance and processing of heavy tranches of data. (For example, the kind of work that is easier to do when you’ve hooked your desktop PC up to multiple LCD screens.)

Seen that way, it doesn’t really matter if Vision Pro only appeals to the high-end desktop market for business/productivity. The Mac Pro is roughly just 5% of Apple’s overall revenue, but it’s probably a good profit driver, and maintains Apple’s lead for productivity computing, especially among professionals in creative industries (design/architecture/multimedia/etc).  Yes, some VR geeks will also buy one, but that’s not and doesn’t have to be its main market.

From Mac Pro… to Vision Pro. Get it?

Discuss during the weekend!

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