Apple Vision Pro for Business: A Game Changer in the XR Market?
Since early June, the immersive technology market has been buzzing, and for a good reason. Apple announced their contender in extended reality (XR): the Vision Pro.
According to their press release from June 5, the Apple Vision Pro is “a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world while allowing users to stay present and connected to others.”
Now, Apple isn’t the pioneer in XR technology by any means, but when they decide to step into a market, they leave a lasting imprint – and this entrance is no different.
Taking a different approach than competitors in the market, Apple is positioning the Vision Pro as a spatial computer, highlighting its applications in communication, video consumption, and productivity. While they mentioned the term “augmented reality” once at the outset, terms like virtual reality and mixed reality have been strategically avoided in their marketing materials.
So, how will the Apple Vision Pro differ from other XR headsets on the market? What are the implications of its release on businesses like yours?
Although it hasn’t been officially released yet (and won’t be until early next year), we’ll walk you through key considerations for the Apple Vision Pro and share our takeaways.
Here’s what Apple’s entry into the XR market means for you.
ArborXR’s Takeaways for Enterprise Customers
Apple Vision Pro
A Closer Look at Apple Vision Pro's Features
Apple’s Vision Pro attempts to reimagine the UI of mixed reality (MR) by focusing on a gesture-based interface complemented by dictation and eye-tracking. Traditionally, almost every headset on the market utilizes controllers for interacting with VR/AR/MR. It gives users a physical connection to a virtual world; there is haptic feedback in most controllers, and when you move a controller, you see a visual representation of it in MR.
Controllers also can be a lot more precise than other current methods of interacting with VR, primarily hand-tracking or eye-tracking. For a lot of XR use cases, precision is absolutely essential. Whether it’s doctors preparing for surgery, using VR for military training, or using AR in construction, many enterprise use cases require a level of precision that Apple’s user-interface may not provide.
One upside? Apple UI only paves the way for greater accessibility and may offer new kinds of engagement with content, especially in educational settings.
Of course, the Apple Vision Pro’s broader success depends on seamless content porting and a thriving developer ecosystem. Apple’s allure will undoubtedly draw developers like a moth to a flame. Creators are excited to build for Apple. However, fully adopting the technology and building a comprehensive content library may take some time. And it may take even longer to see valuable use cases at a large sale happen in enterprise and education settings. We won’t know for sure until the Vision Pro is actually released.
In true Apple fashion, the Vision Pro plans to combine elegance with user-centric ergonomics. Apple has always prioritized a balance between form and function; they want their products to not just look premium but also feel intuitive and comfortable in hand.
Although we won’t know for sure until the official headset is released and extensively used, their preliminary details suggest the Vision Pro’s design aims to reduce user fatigue. With contoured edges, proper weight distribution, and top-of-the-line materials chosen for both their aesthetics and wearability, it’s clear that Apple wants the Vision Pro to set new benchmarks in XR headset comfort.
Today, where prolonged, uninterrupted experiences are increasingly expected, the Vision Pro’s two-hour battery life is its biggest bottleneck. And when compared with competitors like the Vive Focus 3 that boast hot-swappable batteries, the Vision Pro’s battery life is even more disappointing.
Ultimately, while two hours might suffice for shorter, individual interactions or presentations in scenarios like training sessions, collaborative projects, or day-long events, this likely wouldn’t be the headset of choice.
Historically, Apple’s devices require connections to other devices in their ecosystem. So, it comes as no surprise that the Vision Pro will have to be integrated with, at minimum, an iPhone.
In this case, businesses already invested in Apple’s OS will see a smooth XR transition if they opt for the Vision Pro once it launches. Those who have gone the Windows OS route, on the other hand, have two options: bite the bullet and invest in Apple’s OS or opt out of the Vision Pro headset altogether.
The Vision Pro will start at $3,499 (yes, it goes up from there) and launch sometime early next year. At a stark price difference when pitted against competitors, you’ll have to evaluate the benefits derived from the extra dollars spent on the Apple Vision Pro for your organization. Are the premium features worth the price tag?
For industries like design, entertainment, architecture, or healthcare, where precision, high-resolution displays, and seamless UX could be game-changing, the hefty investment might be worth it.
But for sectors like education, small-scale retail, or start-ups – especially those operating on tight budgets – it might be challenging to justify the expense without a clear and immediate ROI. This also raises concerns about the democratization of cutting-edge XR technology. Will it become a luxury rather than a standard tool?
By narrowing its impact and reach, Apple may be inadvertently widening the digital divide. This could lead to a bifurcated education landscape: one for those who can afford such devices and another for those who cannot. On the flip side, if users are more likely to spend time in the Vision Pro, it could further accelerate training, learning & development use cases. So, while Vision Pro promises transformative experiences for some, we have to consider the broader price implications in terms of tech accessibility and equity in our evolving digital age.
Every VR headset has to accommodate users with glasses. For the Apple Vision Pro does not allow users to wear glasses. Instead, you have to order custom magnetic Zeis Optical inserts that are designed specifically for one person. The magnetic inserts cover the lenses, so you don’t need to wear glasses while using the Apple Vision Pro.
The problem? In most enterprise and education use cases, XR headsets are designed for many users. While it may seem like a small point, it can drastically alter a deployment plan if employees or students with glasses cannot easily interact with your new XR hardware.
The Vision Pro’s tethered battery design might present challenges in particular settings. It could introduce safety considerations, especially in sharing setups or situations that involve frequent movement (which may be an issue for sharing and related ingress/egress).
For home use, the Vision Pro’s cord isn’t much of a concern. But in industries like manufacturing, the cord on the Apple Vision Pro might pose some problems – like the potential for it to interfere with machinery and mobility.
And if you’re someone without the luxury of spacious pockets or a carry-along bag, this cord could be a logistical challenge. It’s an interesting design choice, and while the device boasts impressive features, this cord aspect warrants special consideration for some users.
At this point, we’re no strangers to supply chain challenges. Initial reporting suggests that Apple will only be able to produce 130,000-150,000 units in the first year. For any company planning a large XR deployment, it might be hard to get batches of Apple Vision Pro’s in a race against early adopter consumers.
Recent events have only highlighted the intricacies of global production and distribution networks, and, despite their vast resources, Apple is not immune to these challenges. Any hiccup in the supply chain could mean that while the Vision Pro has been announced and is generating buzz, its widespread availability might be delayed by weeks or even months.
Once it is fully available to the public, businesses still need time to ramp it up. Transitioning to the Vision Pro isn’t just about acquiring the headset. You have to integrate it with existing systems, train personnel, and adjust workflows to accommodate maintenance, content downloads, and more.
Though we don’t have specifics quite yet, factor in these considerations before making a final decision. Keep in mind: XR deployment is more of a phased implementation rather than an overnight transition.
Apple Vision Pro
A recurring refrain from software partners we work with is, “the best thing for XR to grow is that Apple is entering the market.” Whenever Apple enters a new technology market, it rapidly advances the consumer and enterprise adoption of that technology. We expect the same to happen with the Vision Pro.
For now, the Vision Pro will sell well to enthusiasts, developers, and specific commercial verticals, it’s likely too expensive for broad enterprise adoption. Industries like design, architecture, and engineering might be among the early adopters, while others like manufacturing and healthcare might wait for lower-cost iterations.
While the Apple Vision Pro signifies a significant milestone in the VR industry, its extensive deployment in enterprise setups might be a vision for the future rather than the present.
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