Apple’s Reality Pro headset lacks a clear focus and killer app that would make it a must-have. That’s Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman’s warning, based on information from his industry sources, and it comes just weeks before Apple’s much-celebrated device is revealed to the public.
It’s not all bad news, though, and Apple has been here before with other products that ended up becoming good. The question is whether the Cupertino giant can make its mixed reality headset a success before the public loses interest.
According to Gurman, Apple wasn’t able to identify a flagship feature to sell its Reality Pro headset around. Instead, the company will try to “throw everything but the kitchen sink at consumers.”
This means that the headset will offer a variety of different functions in both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These include high-end gaming experiences, a portal for watching sports and movies in immersive environments, a focus on fitness and health (including a new wellness app with meditation and soothing sounds), and more. Existing Apple apps have been adapted for the headset, and hundreds of thousands of third-party apps will also be compatible.
Gurman believes Apple hopes this “scattershot” approach will allow customers to focus on the strongest offerings. This allows Apple to tailor future versions of the headset to better focus on what customers want and discard the features they aren’t interested in.
After the Apple Watch Apple
This process closely resembles Apple’s when it introduced the first Apple Watch in 2015. This device had a variety of use cases, from an Apple TV remote control to an iPhone camera’s viewfinder, in addition to fitness tracking, notification management, and timekeeping.
Over time, Apple focused on the latter features and moved away from the former. Since the watch was an entirely new product category for Apple, the company apparently had little idea what would resonate with customers and later tried to narrow that down over time. Eventually, the device became a bestseller when Apple figured out what customers wanted from the watch.
It seems Apple is taking a similar approach with its Reality Pro headset. The risk, however, is that the expected $3,000 price tag leaves very little room for error. The Meta Quest Pro is something of a cautionary tale, with reports of poor sales just a few months after its launch. If Apple customers aren’t immediately won over by the pricey Reality Pro, they might not give it a second chance.
It’s too late to change course now Ahmed Chenni, Freelancer.com
There are reports that Apple is working on a cheaper successor to the Reality Pro, which could offer an alternative for customers who are put off by the Reality Pro’s high price. Gurman expects Apple to refocus the headset on the features that resonate best with customers, and that the company will quickly adjust the price and hardware to keep it attractive.
For example, the Reality Pro’s battery is said to only last two hours due to the headset’s M2 chip and 4K displays. Gurman says the battery sits in the user’s pocket and uses a proprietary magnetic connector to connect it to the headset. Improving its longevity and integrating it into the headset itself – rather than using a bulky cable – would be one way to improve on the Reality Pro.
Apple will no doubt hope its “scattershot” approach pays off – with just weeks to go, now is no time to change course.