Apple Won Game: There was a massive Apple presence even though the company isn’t at CES. Monday, prior to the start of a series of CES keynotes, the business revealed that February 2nd will be the debut date of its Vision Pro headset.
The headset was supposed to be released early this year, according to Apple’s previous promises. This paved the way for its competitors to make CES 2024 a platform for innovative VR/AR concepts. That was unsuccessful in the end. Many businesses brought augmented and virtual reality systems.
Many of the competing headsets included features that were comparable to the Vision Pro, such as an augmented or virtual reality display for your PC or a replacement television. However, not a single one of them arrived quite as quickly or with such an appealing box as Apple’s headset.
At CES, Qualcomm also made a splash with its virtual reality chips. Although the headset in question did not make an appearance at CES and is said to be launching later this year, the Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chipset, designed for mixed reality devices, is housed within Sony’s latest product.
Rumor has it that it will also power the headset allegedly developed by Samsung and Google. A partnership has been announced between Xreal and Qualcomm. Furthermore, a reference design including 4K resolution per eye was collaborated on by Qualcomm and Goertek.
Thus, alternatives to Vision Pro may be in development, but they are obviously not present at this time. Apple, for the time being at least, is not following the crowd. Its passthrough AR/VR hardware seems to be its strong suit, and the company is banking on developers making excellent apps with that technology and its software development tools. (It is still unclear if that actually causes “spatial computing” to occur.)
Even while there might not be a lot of Vision Pros available initially, it has a completely functional device that will be arriving in a matter of weeks. That being said, the Vision Pro represents Apple’s wager on the very top end. The sleek-looking headgear has a plethora of features, including two internal 4K monitors, an exterior display for social cues, Apple’s M2 chip, and a plethora of cameras and sensors for tracking the user and their surroundings.
Costing $3,499 (Apple calls it the “starting” price), the Vision Pro is certainly not cheap, and I have my doubts that there won’t be any “pro” versions available with additional features or storage space. I can think of a few plausible explanations, but it remains unclear why the other CES exhibitors did not attempt to create something that directly competed with Apple.
The most apparent is that everyone was trying to get out of the way of the Apple-sized giant. After all, why fight for market dominance when you can try out some wild, futuristic ideas that won’t hurt a bit? And I’d wager that not all of the participating businesses could afford to invest as much in high-end hardware as Apple does.
It’s also conceivable that the tech industry has seen previous efforts at substantial swings and determined it’s not worth the hassle. For instance, in 2022, Meta introduced the Quest Pro for $1,499, but they drastically reduced the price a few months later. (The Vision Pro is the top of the range, but the newly released Quest 3 is good as well.)
A few months ago, it was claimed that Meta would be collaborating with LG for a new Quest Pro model, but last year, Alex Heath of Command Line said that the business had opted to “can a planned second generation of the recent Quest Pro headset.” So, the future of the Quest Pro line is unclear. At the same time, Windows Mixed Reality was recently abandoned and rumored HoloLens 3, which was in development, was canceled by Microsoft.
Apple is going to have a tough time. The Vision Pro runs you a pretty penny. Regardless of Apple’s best efforts to make it appear stylish, it still looks strange when attached to someone’s face. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the Vision Pro would ultimately provide anything really unique compared to other headsets (or PCs) that would justify the astronomical cost. For the time being, though, Apple is almost alone in the path it chose with the Vision Pro.
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