Friday, July 19, 2024
VR&AR

Apple’s cheaper Vision Pro could have a requirement no one wants


Key Takeaways

  • Cheaper Apple Vision Pro may compromise features
  • Tethering to iPhone might be required for the new model
  • Apple’s plans for a more affordable model in the works before Vision Pro was launched.


Reports that Apple has suspended work on the Apple Vision Pro 2 in order to make what would essentially be a Vision Pro Lite continue to be taken as gospel despite the Cupertino company not yet confirming its plans and what’s in store for the Apple Vision Pro line.

What is expected is that this Apple Vision Pro Lite is going to be a stripped down version of the original. It will be meant to sell better and be more affordable for the average AR and VR user, with a price tag that is thought to be more in line with an iPad, a MacBook or an iPhone. But if and when this new cheaper model hits the market it will likely have a few more features and requirements that won’t make some customers very happy.

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Cheaper Apple Vision Pro takes center stage

Vision Pro 2 isn’t coming for a while

Apple Vision Pro-20


It’s important to note that if the reports are accurate, the plans to push the Vision Pro 2 to the backburner isn’t a sudden move. Apple is said to have plans to divide its VR headset product line into two models, with one “Pro” model and then the cheaper “Lite” model. The move has been happening gradually over the last year with the company assigning fewer employees to the Pro 2 project.

A lower price, somewhere in the $1,600 range reportedly, is obviously going to be missing some bells and whistles. That it will be less powerful is a given. That it won’t be able to do all the things that the Vision Pro can do is likely. But there will be other limitations as well.

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Signature feature could get stripped out

No more eyes on the other end

apple vision pro eyesight demo


With Apple reportedly struggling to find ways to bring the cost of the Vision Pro down to where it wants the cheaper model to be, it’s possible the company could could strip out the EyeSight display. That’s the feature shows a user’s eyes on the outside.

Apple could also reduce the specifications of the internal virtual reality screens. Meaning that the field of view would be reduced. Along with those changes It also could use a less powerful chip and lower the quality of the augmented reality passthrough visuals. The passthrough is what allows users to see the real world outside the headset. It’s important to note that being able to feel as though you’re operating the Apple Vision Pro in the real world is a big claim to fame for the $3,000+ headset.

Reducing the quality of the passthrough is going to be a big step back for Apple. It’s one that will almost certainly cause the cheaper versions to be less attractive to a certain segment of the company’s users. Of course, the brand name will still help reel in some customers scared off by the hefty price tag of the current gen model.


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Tethered to the iPhone?

Need for an iPhone and a Vision would seem less attractive

apple iphone 14 always on

Cnet/Pocket-Lint

Another tidbit that came out over the weekend is that it’s possible the cheaper, less powerful version of the Apple Vision Pro could actually require users to tether the headset to an iPhone.

Mark Gurman argued in his latest Power On newsletter that tethering to an iPhone would be a requirement that would allow the company to make it that much easier to reduce the cost because it would no longer have to rely on the components the Vision Pro has for processing power and components that make it a fully standalone product.

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Potential plan in line with previous Apple products

Lighter models, tethering have long been part of every plan

A selection of Apple Watches against a white background with customized watch faces.

Apple


It should surprise no one that Apple has supposedly been working on the cheaper Apple Vision since before the Pro was launched. The release date for this second model is expected sometime in 2025 and it would make sense for Apple to announce it right around the time iOS18 and its cousins launch.

This plan is also nothing new for Apple. In fact, we should have all seen this coming from the start. Apple offers cheaper, less powerful versions of its iPad, and iPhones and even rolled out a simpler, less impressive version of the Apple Watch, as well as a more powerful Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro

Brand
Apple

Resolution (per eye)
3660 x 3200 per eye

Display Type
Micro-OLED

Battery Life
2-2.5 hours (estimated)

Tethering of course isn’t new either as the Apple Watch has long been something that gets tethered to the iPhone. Though it can act as a standalone device as well. The question that this plan will undoubtedly raise, is whether there will be enough demand for the cheaper Apple Vision Pro.


With the Meta Quest 3 already taking steps to directly compete in the AR/VR market while offering a headset that is still going to be about a third of the next Vision, the big question for Apple is whether this plan really has a chance to work.

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