The Vision Pro is already in bother. Here’s how Apple can flip the tide

A man wears an Apple Vision Pro headset.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset lit the world on hearth when it was introduced on the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023, and once more when it launched in February of this yr. But within the months since, it’s apparently been dropping steam, with gross sales down and other people staying away from in-store demonstrations. That doesn’t bode properly for Apple’s “next big thing.”

The key query, although, is whether or not this an precise drawback for Apple. And in that case, what can the corporate do about it?

In free fall?

If you learn Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman’s latest Power On newsletter, you’ll see some regarding reporting, no less than from Apple’s perspective. Citing workers at Apple’s retail shops, Gurman claims that “Demand for [Vision Pro] demos is way down. People who do book appointments often don’t show up.”

Worse, the Power On e-newsletter provides that “sales — at least at some locations — have gone from a couple of units a day to just a handful in a whole week.” That suggests curiosity within the Vision Pro is in free fall.

A Disney + menus screen seen on an Apple Vision Pro display.
Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

It’s not simply Apple Store sources which might be portray this image. Earlier this month, App Store analytics platform Appfigures published a story outlining how launches of latest apps designed particularly for the Vision Pro (that’s, not iOS apps which have been up to date to work with the headset) have fallen dramatically because the headset was launched in February.

For occasion, when Vision Pro app submissions first opened in January, 73 new apps and video games have been submitted to the product’s App Store. The week after, that quantity rose to 82, then leapt to 150 the next week.

Shortly after that, the Vision Pro launched, and that’s when the issues began. App submissions have plummeted ever since, with Appfigures’ evaluation suggesting that only one new app made it onto the App Store by the final week of March. That’s an incredible drop-off.

Learning from the Mac

A developer points to a Mac screen while a Vision Pro rests on the desk.

Together, Gurman’s report and the Appfigures investigation recommend that the Vision Pro may very well be in a critical decline, with each customers and builders supposedly dropping curiosity. If that’s true, this has the potential to turn out to be a vicious cycle for the headset, with customers staying away resulting from an absence of apps and builders being discouraged by the shortage of app customers.

That’s the form of state of affairs Mac gaming confronted for many years, but Apple seems to be to be righting the ship there because of aggressive Mac efficiency enhancements and a coverage of working with developers to get their video games onto the Mac. Could an identical factor be attainable for the Vision Pro?

Well, the primary a part of the equation — enhancements to the machine itself — appears not solely eminently attainable, however totally possible. There are long-standing rumors that Apple is engaged on a second-generation Vision Pro with higher efficiency and options, and it is smart that the headset is in line for some upgrades.

Apple additionally has a largely optimistic relationship with its builders (barring a couple of App Store squabbles). Before the headset launched, I frolicked interviewing Vision Pro developers and their response was nearly universally optimistic, with the overwhelming majority saying that creating apps for the headset was each straightforward and fulfilling.

That makes me suppose that Apple has each likelihood of turning issues round for the Vision Pro. I don’t suppose the shortage of latest apps is as a result of builders don’t need to work with the machine, however fairly as a result of most are ready to see whether or not it’s going to choose up earlier than investing their effort and time into the platform.

But with a view to get there, Apple must make some adjustments to its Vision Pro lineup, particularly by introducing a cut-price mannequin that’s really reasonably priced for most individuals. That may very well be the only greatest think about enhancing the machine’s fortunes.

Good information and unhealthy information

A person wearing the Apple Vision Pro demo unit in an Apple Store.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’ll begin with the excellent news: We know a cheaper Vision Pro headset is on the way in which. We’ve seen report after report from quite a few extremely respected sources claiming that that is the case. When that occurs, it’s normally guess that the prediction will come to go.

OK, however what concerning the unhealthy information? According to the most recent rumors, the cheaper Vision Pro might not actually be that cheap, and it might not launch till 2025 or 2026. That’s a very long time to attend contemplating the apparently declining curiosity within the headset, which suggests Apple dangers ready too lengthy to play its hand. Will the machine have utterly run out of steam by the point the extra reasonably priced model arrives?

Ultimately, I don’t suppose Apple is overly involved. With a $3,499 price ticket, Apple at all times knew the headset wouldn’t promote in large numbers. It’s a distinct segment product competing in an immature market. It’s additionally made for first adopters and die-hard Apple followers, not most of the people. Sales numbers have been at all times going to start out from a low base and have been by no means going to be phenomenal.

I’m not excessively fearful both, however that rests on Apple with the ability to rapidly comply with up with a extra accessible Vision Pro that’s priced far more fairly. Apple wants the rumored cut-price headset, and it wants it quick.

Right now, Apple has all the best items in place — the developer goodwill, the standard product, the fascinating apps — nevertheless it wants to maneuver issues on rapidly earlier than curiosity completely fades. That might be an important concern the Vision Pro faces at the moment.

Ultimately, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 shall be completely essential. It’s a developer-focused occasion, so it’s the right time for Apple to make a convincing pitch to builders to return to the Vision Pro. And if it could possibly showcase some attractive new use circumstances for the machine, customers would possibly reply positively as properly.

That means all eyes shall be on June 10 to see what Apple has in retailer for us. The way forward for the Vision Pro hangs within the stability.

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