Apple May Rethink Vision Pro Strategy As Sales Fall Off A Cliff

Woman wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset.
Try not to fall out of your chair in sheer shock, but it turns out that the market for a $3,500 mixed reality headset may not be as big as Apple anticipated. Or viewed from a different lens, the Vision Pro may not have the same cachet as an iPhone or Mac. In the wake of lukewarm sales, Apple's management team is reportedly rethinking its Vision Pro strategy.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), via Bloomberg, the Vision Pro has failed to sell 100,000 units in a single quarter since it launched in the US in February of this year. Obviously that's a short-term sample size with one of those quarters being cut short. However, the market research firm further claims that domestic Vision Pro sales are on track to plummet 75% in the current quarter.

Assuming the data is accurate, that's obviously not the kind of thing Apple would like to see, especially after all of the pre-release hype for what amounts to a new market segment for the Cupertino company. Part of the ongoing marketing pitch is that "the era of spatial computing is here" with the arrival of the Vision Pro, which from a technical standpoint, is an impressive hardware kit.

The Vision Pro is also super pricey compared to much more budget-friendly headsets like Meta's Quest 3. To be fair, Apple's ambitions for the Vision Pro extend beyond the consumer realm and into business and enterprise territories, similar to Microsoft's strategy with its equally-pricey HoloLens. And perhaps that is where Apple is hitting a snag.

Apps as viewed in VisionOS.

It's almost like the Vision Pro is stuck in a sort of purgatory, as Apple attempts to straddle the line between consumer and professional market segments. But it's too pricey for the former, and lacks enough content for the latter. Those are both areas that need addressed if the Vision Pro is to become a breakout success the way Apple hopes.

"The Vision Pro’s success, regardless of its price, will ultimately depend on the available content," said Francisco Jeronimo, vice president at IDC. "As Apple expands the product to international markets, it’s crucial that local content is also made available."

To be fair, the Vision Pro hasn't been a financial flop. It was reported in January that Apple took in 200,000 preorders worth a staggering $700 million. That said, it's not clear how many of those early sales stayed on the books, as there was also a scramble by some to return the pricey headset before the return headline.

It will be interesting to see where Apple goes from here. It's said Apple is planning to release a cheaper headset, which Jeronimo reckons will be around half the price as the Vision Pro. That would still qualify as a comparatively expensive option, though the analyst anticipates Apple being able to double its sales when the headset arrives late next year. We'll see.