The United States well-known Apple news reporter Mark Gurman said in an article, although Apple’s efforts in the field of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) may one day create an alternative to the iPhone, but the company’s first headset is likely to turn out to be something Apple has never had in years: a failure product.
Apple’s first headset faces test of failure
Apple’s first mixed reality device, likely to be called Reality Pro, will launch this year. It features a host of new technologies, from dual 4K displays to a flexible OLED screen that displays the user’s eyes on the front. It will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras that can analyze the wearer’s body, eye movements and external environment.
There is no doubt that it will wow the outside world and be far more advanced than anything else on the market. However, for most consumers, it is not practical and is too expensive. That’s because it only lasts about two hours on a single charge, doesn’t work well outdoors, has limited content at launch, and its design makes some people uncomfortable.
The headset also marks a strategic shift for Apple. Previously, when it entered previous categories, such as music players, phones, tablets and watches, the mainstream crowd had already taken an interest in these products. Apple’s goal was simply to create better products and beat the competition.
By contrast, AR / VR headsets are still an emerging field. Companies need to persuade consumers in order to get them to consider such products.
And, more worryingly, Apple has yet to find a real “killer app” for the device. Apple hopes that immersive video viewing, tight integration with other Apple products, and advanced VR-based FaceTime calls will appeal to consumers, but it’s doubtful that this approach will be enough to attract users.
Unlike the first iPhone
The first iPhone didn’t have this problem. At the time, Apple simply improved the experience for a phone that everyone owned. With the first-generation iPad, it was clear that the world was ready for a tablet, a device that could serve as both a laptop replacement and a casual entertainment device.
The first generation iPhone
The numbers bear this out. iPhone sold 1 million units within months of launch, and iPad sold 1 million units in its first 28 days on the market. And that was just the beginning; Apple sold more than 10 million iPhones the following year and 15 million iPads in the first eight months of availability.
No major use cases existed for the Apple Watch when it launched in 2015, but fitness and health tracking coupled with notifications quickly drew people in. Despite initial problems with a sluggish processor and mediocre apps, the Apple Watch gained more than 10 million users in its first year on the market.
But even according to Apple’s own plans, the story of the new headset will be very different. The company expects to produce only about 1 million units in its first year. That means that, at least initially, it will be one of Apple’s lowest-selling products.
The headset also has no clear advantage over Apple’s existing products. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, he argued that it was better than the Mac or iPhone for browsing the web, watching video and viewing photos, and that the Apple Watch was better than the iPhone as an activity tracker.
Apple’s first headset probably won’t be better than the iPhone or iPad in anything other than video viewing and FaceTime, and not many consumers will be willing to pay $3,000 for it. That’s five times the price of the first iPhone, which was considered overpriced by some in 2007.
While Apple may market the Reality Pro as a consumer-oriented product, it should probably be positioned as a developer prototype designed to prepare software developers for the arrival of cheaper, more useful products in the future.
To avoid the Reality Pro becoming a high-profile flop, Apple may need to position it as a preview device for future products. But that may be a difficult road to travel. Apple’s marketing department is not used to downplaying new product launches because they don’t have to. But with its first headset product, Apple’s reputation as a maker of guaranteed hit products is at stake.