Apple’s entry into mixed-reality, unlike Meta and others, focuses on expanding the visual space rather than focusing on virtual 3D spaces.
We also note how the much hyped breakthroughs technologies such as LLMs are now becoming integral/invisible foundation technologies.
Despite an initial $3,499 price-point, we think a repeat of what we saw in other categories such as watches and earbuds, which today has become a $40bn/yr business, cannot be ruled out. Eventual success of a lower-priced version (non “pro”) will help expand the TAM for payment and epiwafer volumes those in the value chain.
This time it’s different? Over a decade ago, 3D TVs (paired with glasses) were popular and Google Glass was breaking new ground only to fail later. Meta, which bought Oculus, has made some progress in taking computation/entertainment into the 3D realm, selling some 20m AR/VR units so far. For comparison, iPhone 6 model alone sold 222m units. Despite Meta’s latest mixed reality (MR) headset being priced $499 with over 500 VR game catalogue already in place, we don’t see it selling anywhere close to the unit sales Apple is used to.
Will Apple’s Vision Pro MR device go the way of the Meta devices? In the demo, Apple focus was more on work scenarios (extending desktop real estate, collaboration with non-MR users, etc) and immersive traditional entertainment (virtual cinema screens, multi-screen sports-casting, etc). If the price point was that of a large 4K TV, we can see how this device gains popularity as something to extend your screen-space with mixed-reality being an added bonus.
The tier-1 support for video game engines like Unity will benefit listed video game publishers looking for a TAM expanding new platform, and Apple’s engagement with content creators/publishers like Disney will hopefully drive greater payment revenue.
Figure 1: Vision Pro’s depth sensing system has a lot of potentially IQE-derived CS content