Apple's Vision For A Cheaper Headset May Include Tethering To An iPhone Or Mac

vision pro
The next Apple Vision Pro may be cheaper, but there's a chance you'll have to tether it to an iPhone or Mac. It's no secret that the Vision Pro is a device that has had a fairly slow rollout with consumers. At $3,499 (base price), it is one of Apple's most expensive products to date. Adding to the fact that Apple has not yet convinced the mass consumer of its utility, units will sit on shelves. 

Apple is certainly well aware of this, and it is likely that the Vision Pro is a play at a multiyear process that will see cheaper iterations develop. One such design could see the Vision Pro necessitating a connection to a Mac, where most of the grunt work would be done. This would save some cost on the hardware within the device itself, but it would still need the pricey optical technology to wow users. 

Now that the product is out in the wild, it is unlikely Apple will simply give up on it. Apple has a history of allowing devices to linger past their prime, or when consumer reception is lukewarm. A good example is the Mac Pro lineup, which typically has gone many years without an update, even with an enthusiast user base. While the Apple Vision Pro has a novelty factor, it really does need a cheaper starting price before most consumers can begin to consider it. 

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Apple jumped on the spatial computing mantra to convince users why the Vision Pro matters, but messaging remains mixed. With a bevy of powerful mobile devices such as the M4 iPad Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro, users will need more convincing before jumping on the spatial computing bandwagon. 

A cheaper price is a starting point, along with a more comfortable wearable experience. As a current user of the Vision Pro, the weight and long term comfort can definitely be an issue, often leaving me with red marks on my face. The Vision Pro recently received the VisionOS 2 Beta update at the WWDC 2024 Developer Conference, adding some utility and gestures to the device. 

A starting price under $2,000 would attract a wider user base, and eventually lead to a greater ecosystem for the device itself with more software development interest. However, it would need to be much cheaper in order to sway potential customers away from Meta's Quest lineup, so we'll see.

While Apple appears to not be focusing on a high-end Vision Pro 2, some type of more affordable device is plausible in the future. The refinement in VisionOS over time with the current user base, along with lessons learned on the part of Apple, may make for an interesting second iteration of the Vision Pro.