Tech titans Zuckerberg, Musk cast a critical eye on Apple's Vision Pro

While Zuckerberg says Vision Pro did not provide any 'magical solution', Musk puts out a meme on the device's pricing

Apple’s Vision Pro

Shivani Shinde Mumbai
A no-holds-barred battle appears to have broken out over Apple’s Vision Pro. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, Meta, believed that Apple’s recently unveiled mixed-reality headset provided “no magical solutions”, whereas tech maverick Elon Musk poked fun at the pricing of the product.
Apple in its recently concluded Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) announced its first augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headset, Vision Pro, for $3,499.
A potential competition to Meta’s Quest and the upcoming Quest 3, Zuckerberg in a companywide meeting said that Vision Pro did not provide any “magical solution” that Meta has not already explored, The Verge reported.
“They went with a higher resolution display, and between that and all the technology they put in there to power it, it costs seven times more and now requires so much energy that now you need a battery and a wire attached to it to use it. They made that design trade-off and it might make sense for the cases that they’re going for,” Zuckerberg was quoted as saying in the report.
Meta’s Quest is priced at $499, much cheaper than Apple’s Vision Pro. According to reports, the Quest 3 is expected to be priced at $500, which means Meta may manage to garner a market share. In the meeting, Zuckerberg said Meta, so far, has sold tens of millions of Quests.

“I think that their announcement really showcases the difference in the values and the vision that our companies bring to this in a way that I think is really important. We innovate to make sure that our products are as accessible and affordable to everyone as possible, and that is a core part of what we do,” he said.

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Apple’s pricing of Vision Pro also made Musk put out a meme on his Twitter handle. The meme shows a picture of a woman wearing Vision Pro along with a picture of mushrooms. The mushroom picture has a price mentioned as $20, whereas the Vision Pro picture highlights the price of $3,499. Musk’s tweet garnered over 545,000 likes at the time of writing this report.
Apple’s bet on a higher price point is surprising, especially when one looks at the falling shipment of AR/VR headsets.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker, the overall AR/VR headset market declined 54.4 per cent year-on-year in Q1CY23; VR headsets accounted for 96.2 per cent of headsets shipped.

Among the top 5 AR/VR headset makers, Meta continued to lead with a 47.8 per cent market share, following close is Sony’s PSVR 2, which captured a 35.9 per cent share during the quarter. ByteDance (Pico) managed to grow its share from 4.4 per cent last year to 6.1 per cent, and DPVR and HTC rounded out the top 5 with each having less than 2 per cent share.
According to Tuong Nguyen, director analyst, Gartner, any comparison between Vision Pro and Meta's headset isn't fair. “Apple is a high-end consumer electronics brand.  Meta is aiming for the broader market.  Furthermore, what we currently know about the hardware is that it is likely expensive to make, and there is limited scale at launch.  Moreover, it is also easier to move products down the market than, it is to move up the market.

I believe the intention and focus (of Apple) will be to initially target high-end users, tech enthusiasts, and early adopters who can afford this price point.  In this sense, it will suit its target market.”
While Zuckerberg and Musk may have their view, analysts believe that Apple could still have a winning hand. “While the Vision Pro might not drive significant volumes given its premium price point, it could be the potential catalyst for the AR/VR market as Apple has proven in the past that consumer engagement can deliver willingness to pay premium pricing and Apple’s focus is clearly to hit a home-run on consumer engagement as opposed to volumes with the first device in what admittedly will be a multi-year journey for the platform,” said a JP Morgan report.
The report also acknowledges that the Vision Pro pricing is well ahead of its projection of $2,000-3,000 and is premium priced compared to peers, with price points ranging from $300- $1,499. “While the price premium is higher than anticipated, the richness of features drives us to keep our modest initial volume expectations for 100-200K unchanged,” said the report.
Vision Pro leverages Apple’s M2 chip for standalone performance and a new R1 chip to process input from 12 cameras (including 3D Camera), five sensors (LiDAR, TrueDepth, Infrared, etc), and six microphones, as well as enable the spatial audio system. The device also leverages a brand new OS, visionOS, which enables a custom three-dimensional interface with content that is either immersive or present in the user’s physical world, and that is controlled via a person’s eyes, hands, and voice (no controllers).
  • Apple recently announced its first AR/VR headset, Vision Pro, priced at $3,499
  • In comparison Meta’s Quest, a potential competitor of Vision Pro, is priced at $499
  • The ‘first spatial computer’, Vision Pro is deemed to have an infinite canvas for apps at work and at home
  • Vision Pro can play audio on its own, while combining real and virtual worlds
  • Apple has partnered with Zeiss for users with vision correction needs to ensure visual fidelity and eye tracking accuracy

First Published: Jun 9 2023 | 8:39 PM IST

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