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Apple: Vision Pro headset looks good but offers no new ideas for VR

There’s constructing suspense after which there’s forcing your viewers to sit down by means of a two hour presentation earlier than asserting that your hotly anticipated, much-delayed digital actuality headsets received’t go on sale till subsequent yr.

By the point Apple unveiled its VR goggles on Monday, the share value had misplaced its intraday report excessive. Seemingly culprits embrace lack of compelling content material, a excessive price ticket and the 2024 launch date.

Apple is a professional at elegant design and high quality shows. However are VR headsets a great use of its $166bn money and marketable securities pile? Restricted battery life and ponderous suits nonetheless plague the sector. Meta’s VR unit reported falling income and an working lack of practically $4bn prior to now quarter. Apple has not damaged out figures displaying the price of improvement.

The corporate’s curved, ski-goggle type headsets look extra comfy than most. Twelve cameras and varied sensors video the true world then overlay VR — which means wearers could be immersed in on-line life with out tripping over their shoelaces. As an alternative of handheld units, controls are hand or voice activated. There’s a spooky wanting show that exhibits the wearer’s eyes if persons are close by and an annoying wire hooked up to an exterior battery pack.

Show high quality is excessive. The headset has 23mn pixels. As Apple says, that’s greater than a 4K TV in entrance of every eye. It’s powered by Apple’s personal M2 chips and a brand new chip referred to as R1, a part of its ongoing dedication to scale back reliance on exterior suppliers corresponding to Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Apple isn’t first off the block. LG Electronics launched a touchscreen smartphone earlier than the iPhone and Samsung was promoting smartwatches earlier than the Apple Watch. Nevertheless it has a report of promoting standard, high-quality variations of {hardware}.

At $3,499, nevertheless, Apple has not priced its Imaginative and prescient Professional to be mass-consumer pleasant. They’re seven occasions dearer than Meta’s newest model, for instance. But the presentation was not enterprise-focused both. Maybe it hopes to kick-start a brand new market of apps from third-party builders.

To displace the iPhone’s significance to Apple income, it could must promote practically 60mn headsets a yr. This appears unlikely. Fortunately for Apple, it has the means to experiment. Free money movement final yr was 5 occasions the dimensions of Meta’s. Chief government Tim Prepare dinner can afford to check out VR with out betting Apple’s future on the tech.

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