Apple said it would start sales of its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset in the US from 2 February, as the company tries to grab a share of the market dominated by Meta Platforms with its most expensive bet in more than a decade.
The headset starts at US$3 499 (R65 000 on a direct currency translation) and marks the company’s biggest product launch since the original iPhone went on sale in 2007.
It will be available for pre-orders starting at 5am Pacific Time (3pm SAST) on 19 January, the company said on Monday.
The device — unveiled in June last year — has been lauded by analysts for its impressive technology, including an exterior display that shows the user’s eyes to people in the outside world, as well as a new chip that Apple says will process information from sensors in less time than the blink of an eye.
Users can browse the web, chat and even watch movies using the device at a resolution greater than a 4K TV.
But the Vision Pro must be plugged to a power source at all times. Its hefty price tag means that early adoption is expected to be limited to wealthy users and tech enthusiasts.
Analysts and investors expect the product to not contribute materially to revenue and project sales in small numbers.
The headset will test a market crowded with devices that are yet to gain traction among consumers. It will also put Apple in direct competition with Meta after years of clashes between the companies over issues such as user privacy and control of developer platforms.
Vision Pro costs more than three times as much as the priciest headset in Meta’s line of mixed and virtual reality devices. The Facebook parent’s top-of-the-line Quest Pro mixed reality device, which blends virtual reality with the real-world video feed, offers about two hours of battery life directly on the headset, without an external battery pack. — Akash Sriram, (c) 2024 Reuters