Apple Vision Pro Costs A Mint But A Cheaper Model Is Reportedly In The Works
The biggest knock against Apple's Vision Pro headset is the price, which is to be expected to some extent. It's not like Apple has a reputation for churning out value-driven products, not when even a simple polishing cloth costs $19, let alone having the audacity to charge $999 for a monitor stand. Be that as it may, Apple might end up launching a less expensive Vision Pro model.
As it stands, the Vision Pro is finally real, and it looks both expansive (in terms of its feature and capabilities) and expensive at $3,499. Put into context, however, it's no pricier than Microsoft's HoloLens 2 headset. Part of the reason for this is because both products primarily target developers and enterprise customers, rather than your everyday consumer.
That's to say, Apple is not going after the same segment that Meta is chasing with its upcoming $499 Quest 3 or recently-reduced $299 Quest 2 headsets. It's not also competing with headsets like Sony's PlayStation VR 2 ($549 on Amazon) or even premium-tier options like the Vive Pro 2 ($1,209.01 on Amazon).
Nevertheless, the Vision Pro will inevitably find its way into the hands (and onto the heads) of affluent consumers (it's estimated Apple will ship 200,000 Vision Pro headsets next year), who can the access apps purpose built for the Vision Pro and its accompanying visionOS. Depending on how those turn out, expect there to be Vision Pro envy. This will intensify if reviews are positive—a spattering of early hands-on impressions are mostly positive, and popular YouTube personalities are already latching onto the hype train and promise of the Vision Pro.
If Apple really wants to make a dent in the consumer space, though, it has to figure out a way to lower the price. Not necessarily to the extent of the Quest series or even in three-digit territory. But certainly less than $3,499. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, you should expect that to happen.
"Apple, having debuted the Vision Pro headset at $3,500, is already working on a cheaper model to get the new product category onto the faces of more people," Gurman claims in his Power On newsletter.
There is a caveat, though. According to Gurman, the cheaper model won't arrive until the end of 2025 at the earliest. That means having to wait at least a year and a half, and even then, cheaper doesn't mean cheap.
To that point, Gurman notes that "it won't be an easy task" for Apple to release a less expensive model while still making money. He says the $3,499 MSRP of the Vision Pro is "already at or near the cost to make it," with the three priciest components being the camera/sensor array, dual silicon chips (M2 and R1), and the two 4K micro-OLED displays.
"For a non-pro model, Apple could probably use lower quality screens, either an iPhone-grade chip or an older Mac chip and fewer cameras for lesser performance," Gurman writes.
Other potential downgrades could include a less fancy headband, outsourced spatial audio that would require a set of AirPods, ditching the 3D camera, switching from automatic to physical IPD adjustments, and using a lower quality frame, he says.
Even with all that, Gurman reckons in his Power On newsletter that "Apple could knock several hundred dollars off the price," not thousands.
There's reason to be a little optimistic, though. According to Gurman, Apple's also begun work on a second-generation Vision Pro with a faster chipset. Depending on when that arrives, it could drive down the price of both the first-gen Vision Pro and whatever downgraded model might emerge. We can hope, anyway.