Some quick thoughts on the latest announcement from Apple.
There’s a lot of comparisons to other tech Apple has normalized, the two big ones being wireless headphones and smart watches. I would say these are distinct from the Vision in a few ways.
Everyone listens to music. Selling customers on an Apple branded pair of headphones was not a huge lift, especially when they had just killed the headphone jack and every iPhone user suddenly had to figure out how to listen to music on their phones. They were distinctly overpriced but not in such an absurd price range that people balked at it. They were expensive in the same way Apple’s computers are expensive–you pay a lot for the promise of status, fashion, and reliability.
Smartwatches were a more difficult sell, and if you remember the launch, they were not met with much excitement. Not everyone uses a watch to begin with. The value in the smartwatch isn’t in what it replaces, it’s in what it simplifies. You can check your texts. You can take calls. You can control the music coming out of your ear pods. These are all actions users were doing already, but the Apple watch made them a little more convenient. So the value is aesthetics, brand (status, reliability), and convenience. Not to mention you can see what time it is. And again, these are expensive, but Apple-expensive, where you’re paying for the above.
The headset falls into a different category I think because it’s not solving a problem. There’s no, “screens are going away I need some kind of display that meets the new format requirement,” there’s no, “this makes my daily life more convenient,” and there’s no status or fashion element because you’re not taking it out of your home.
This doesn’t even really replace a existing line of consumer products, because there has never been mass adoption of headsets because, probably, 1. Most people don’t want to use them and 2. There’s no killer app motivating people to use them. Apple is trying to solve both of these problems with their headset. From the demo, I’m not seeing that.
And price is the last thing. This isn’t pricey to where a consumer is going to splurge on it. This is just pricey. This isn’t overpriced, it’s expensive. For the same price as the headset I can buy two iPhones, tape them to my eyes, then buy an Android phone and put it somewhere else.
Every hugely important technology gets naysaid before it’s adopted. Cars, television, etc. It’s hard to say if I’m missing the Vision or real-world application here that’s going to be a game changer, but I think this is going to be a tough sell for Apple, and I don’t see this making waves.
…but I’m looking forward to coming back to this post in my VR headset in the metaverse three years from now and chuckling at how wrong I was. I’ll write a blog post about it on my Newton.