After launching the Vision Pro headset at $3,500, Apple is already developing a more affordable device to bring the new product category to more consumers’ faces. A possible mechanism is as follows. Also discussed are first reactions to Apple’s latest operating systems, why Tim Cook won’t be seen in public sporting a Vision Pro, and the plans for Apple’s future retail locations.
Previously on Power On Apple’s next big thing after the iPhone and Mac won’t arrive long.
Apple Inc.’s Vision Pro doesn’t seem like a good buy at $3,500. The product’s seven-fold higher price tag than its leading competitor makes its otherwise impressive technology and attractive functionality moot.
There were audible gasps from the audience at the company’s headquarters when the price of the headset was revealed. Customers and online pundits alike have criticized the price, and Apple’s justification for the premium hasn’t precisely won everyone over.
Mike Rockwell, Apple’s top executive in charge of the project, said before disclosing the price-
“If you purchased a new state-of-the-art TV, surround-sound system, powerful computer with multiple high-definition displays, high-end camera and more, you still would not have come close to what Vision Pro delivers.”
The argument may have some basis in reality, but it is highly deceptive. The Vision Pro is designed for a single person, while TVs are built for a group. Most people buying a spatial computer would already have high-end Apple computers, many monitors, and a smartphone with a camera.
It’s hardly shocking that Apple thought about delaying the pricing announcement until after WWDC when fewer people would pay attention to the news. The corporation ultimately felt that not revealing the pricing at the event would make it an even easier target. Consumers will have nine months to mull it before Vision Pro is released.
Even though I believe the item has been well promoted, the corporation might have emphasized that the technology is so novel and costly that it would cause the company to lose money at a lower price point. Making an inappropriate comparison to electronic devices like televisions, monitors, cameras, and computers distorts the truth.
The point will likely be moot in a few years, though. In January, I reported that Apple was hard at work developing a cheaper headset version to increase sales. The existence of a non-Pro version, which we can only presume will be dubbed the Apple Vision or Apple Vision One, given the name Vision Pro, is further evidence of this.
Since Vision Pro’s technology is so pricey, Apple would be wise to investigate ways to lower the price. The Vision Pro’s $3,499 price tag is close to its production cost, so generating a profit will be difficult.
The camera and sensor array, the two Apple silicon chips, and the two 4K micro-OLED virtual reality screens are the most expensive parts of the Vision Pro. Apple could reduce performance on a non-pro model by using lower-quality screens, an iPhone-grade CPU or an older Mac chip, and fewer cameras.
Have you heard the buzz that Apple is potentially joining forces with movie studios in a whopping $1 billion annual endeavour to bring more cinematic experiences to the big screen? The potential investment marks a significant surge and a tactical pivot for the streamer-
Apple may eliminate the need for the 3D camera and switch to a manual IPD (distance between eye pupils) correction by using a more straightforward headband design and mandating AirPods for spatial audio instead of the strap with speakers used in the Vision Pro. Apple could reduce the price by several hundred dollars with a more streamlined manufacturing process, economies of scale, and a cheaper chassis.
But there are several features I expect Apple to keep the same even in a budget Apple Vision. The Apple Vision’s external screen, EyeSight, and the accompanying eye- and hand-tracking system are as integral to the device as the touchscreen is to the iPhone. A cheaper version should still have those options.
Apple is targeting the end of 2025 as the introduction date for the more affordable version, making its arrival roughly two years after the original Vision Pro. And just like the ordinary iPhone and iPhone Pro versions, Apple is already working on a second-generation Vision Pro with a faster processor, suggesting it intends to employ a two-product strategy.
Apple, however, will have to hold out hope that there will be enough customers willing to line up for a cheaper version of the Vision Pro well beyond 2026, given the exorbitant price of the current model.
The new macOS Sonoma and watchOS 10 have been released, and we have our first thoughts. Since the first developer betas were made available on Monday, I’ve been putting iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and watchOS 10 through their paces. When taken as a whole, I think these new software improvements are the least significant Apple has released in one update cycle in quite some time.
However, this is for a good cause, as Apple has redirected many software development resources toward finishing visions. I said last week that instead of releasing new features in 2023, Apple’s original goal was to concentrate on bug fixes and speed improvements. Everything extra is icing on the cake. Still, some alterations leap out at me.
Yes, version 17 of iOS and iPad OS. The iPhone’s new keyboard is the best innovation. Apple’s autocorrect system had been problematic for a long time, but after 16 years, it was eventually rectified. Even predictive typing has come a long way and is now quite effective. To understand, you must put it to use. I like the reintroduction of the default iPad wallpaper from 2010 and the new widget system on the iPad lock screen.
The new StandBy mode will be widely adopted, allowing locked iPhones to display widgets and the time in landscape orientation. I don’t remember if I have acquired a new stand for my iPhone to watch videos in landscape mode while I sleep. Although the new Messages app drawer isn’t very Apple-like, I enjoy it better. It demotes the useless third-party iMessage apps.
Since it adds little to the table beyond support for the latest iOS capabilities, MacOS Sonoma should have been renamed macOS Malibu (the closest central area in California to Ventura). The two most notable additions are the ability to pin widgets from the Notification Center to the desktop and compatibility for the screen savers introduced on the Apple TV in 2015.
Besides the headset’s operating system, watchOS 10 is the most impressive software. Widgets are the most notable addition. First, I went to the widget menu and removed all the complications from my watch face, including the weather widget, stock ticker, and calendar. It’s a lot tidier now. The redesigned, scrollable home screen is a welcome addition, as well.
Here’s the deal with the Vision Pro and why Apple leaders like Tim Cook won’t wear it in public. As I initially noted on Twitter, it is notable that neither Tim Cook nor any other Apple officials wore the Vision Pro device during the event.
Unless I missed something, it is very curious to me why there are no photos of Tim Cook or other Apple executives actually wearing the Vision Pro. If that is indeed true, that was of course a calculated decision. The question is why?
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) June 5, 2023
The above photo shows that Cook was unwilling to approach any closer to the gadget than standing next to it. Imagine if he pointed to a table and stared at a new iPhone or Apple Watch behind glass. That’ll never happen, as Cook is always proud to wear the latest and most excellent timepieces in public. Cook shows off the newest iPhone with much enthusiasm.
Nonetheless, the earpiece is unique. This, make no mistake, was a well-thought-out strategy. Every aspect of an Apple product reveal is carefully planned. All choices are rational. This warrants your attention, so please do so. The most obvious reason is that Apple is aware that the headset, when worn, could make some people look dystopian because of its size and design. It also takes great care to safeguard the reputations of its top brass. Tim Cook’s use of the Vision Pro could become an internet joke, which is the last thing Apple needs.
While that makes sense, it also suggests that Apple isn’t fully confident in the design to allow Cook and other high-profile officials to wear it in public. You can see the difference between Cook’s appearances at the launches of the iPhone 14, the original Apple Watch, and the Vision Pro by comparing the photographs above.
From last week’s Power On, we learn about Apple’s plans for the future of its retail stores as we approach WWDC. Last week, as everyone was getting ready for WWDC, I broke a massive story about Apple’s intentions for its retail locations. The corporation plans a significant expansion in China, Japan, and South Korea and updates its shop infrastructure in the United States and Europe. It will also be relocating a substantial office in Australia and opening a new outpost in Malaysia.
The following are some of the most notable new stores that the company is considering or planning to open:
- A store in Kuala Lumpur in the first half of 2024.
- Unique sites in downtown Detroit and the Worldcenter development in Miami.
- A significant flagship location at the Jing’an Temple Plaza in Shanghai.
- A remodelled store in the Opera shopping area in France.
- Two new sites in Mumbai and a second store in New Delhi.
- A place at the Al Jimi Mall in Abu Dhabi.
- A remodel of its first store in Japan, the Ginza location in Chuo.
There were a few additional tidbits of information I picked up. Apple’s retail stores can be identified as either “regular” Apple Stores, “Apple Store+” stores, “Flagship” stores, or “Flagship+” stores.
Apple Stores are either indoors in shopping centres or outdoors in major complexes or on city streets if they are Apple Store+ locations. Flagships are Apple’s most prominent retail locations, typically in major metropolitan areas, whereas Flagship+ stores are located in landmarks or other historically significant locales.
It has also been relayed to me that the typical indoor Apple Store in a shopping mall generates around $40 million in annual income. In contrast, the average outdoor Apple Store produces over $45 million.
Regarding annual revenue, flagship stores can easily surpass $75 million, while Flagship+ sites can easily exceed $100 million. Apple makes a lot of money off of that. About 40% of all sales are generated through the company’s retail outlets (both physical and virtual).