Here’s How Apple Plans to Make a More Affordable Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro WWDC 3
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With the incredible amount of research, development, and engineering that Apple has undertaken to build its upcoming Vision Pro headset, we can rest assured that this won’t be a one-off product.

There’s been little doubt that a second-generation model is in the cards, and last week, we heard from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that Apple already has its successor on the drawing board, with the primary focus on figuring out ways to make it lighter and therefore easier to wear.

However, what’s been a bit murkier is where Apple stands on its plans for a more affordable version — a “Vision” to the Vision Pro if you will.

Earlier this year, before we even knew what Apple’s headset would be called, multiple reports suggested the company’s next-generation headset lineup would feature two models, expected to arrive sometime in late 2025. Shortly after the Vision Pro debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Gurman also weighed in by adding that Apple is “intent on a two-product strategy for the device in line with the standard iPhone and iPhone Pro models.”

However, in late September, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested Apple had canceled its plans for the lower-cost modeland that a second-generation Vision Pro won’t likely arrive until 2027, at the soonest. Notably, Kuo didn’t provide any insight into why he believes the lower-cost headset plans have been canceled, and it seems Gurman’s sources don’t agree with Kuo’s conclusions.

While Gurman has heard that Apple’s team is focused on the “Vision Pro 2” right now, it’s also not ruling anything out and is said to be “considering multiple options” that could include “a lower-end model and a more powerful version.”

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In principle, it wouldn’t be too difficult for Apple to scale down the Vision Pro into something at least a bit more affordable. While it’s doubtful we’ll see a $500 version anytime soon, getting it under $2,000 might be achievable by removing some of the less critical features.

In this week’s edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman confirms that the company “has been funneling resources toward a lower-end version.” After all, Apple isn’t oblivious to the fact that the Vision Pro as it stands right now will never go mainstream with a $3,500 asking price.

Gurman confirms that Apple has also doubled down on its headset development to accomplish this, moving people away from the mythic Apple Glasses team, which is considered a “moonshot” project that’s not realistically achievable with today’s technology, over to the lower-cost headset team.

The current Vision Pro packs in a lot of high-end technology, which makes sense as Apple wants to lead with its best foot forward and turn its debut mixed-reality headset into a showpiece of everything it’s capable of. However, this also means there’s room to cut a few corners.

Several analysts, including Gurman, have predicted for the past few months that a lower-cost Apple headset would use lower-resolution displays and possibly skimp on some of the cameras and sensors. Now, Gurman adds that Apple will also likely shy away from an M-series “Mac chip” and opt for an iPhone processor in the more affordable version.

The other possible casualty in the standard “Vision” headset could be the EyeSight feature, which makes some sense. While Gurman previously said he didn’t believe Apple would compromise on that part since it considers it “as core to the Apple Vision as a touchscreen is to an iPhone,” it’s arguably a “frill” that’s not truly necessary in a lower-cost version of the headset.

EyeSight was reportedly born from an insistence by Apple’s former Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, that a person wearing Apple’s headset not be isolated from the world around them. While other VR headsets mask the wearer’s eyes, making it seem like they’re cut off, Apple put an OLED display on the outside of the Vision Pro so you could go into a conversational mode with someone in the real world without removing the headset.

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It’s a typical Apple approach. In effect, EyeSight is to visual interactions what the new Conversation Mode feature of the AirPods Pro is to audio conversations. However, there’s also an argument to be made that, no matter how good EyeSight is, leaving the headset on while talking to somebody may still be slightly off-putting. The same can also be said for the AirPods Pro Conversation Mode, where it’s even less obvious that you’re actually listening to someone while you still have an earbud stuck in each ear.

According to Gurman, Apple is discussing getting the headset down into the $1,500 to $2,500 price range. If analysts’ estimates are correct that the current Vision Pro costs almost as much to make as its $3,500 asking price, Apple will have to make some serious compromises and perhaps let go of a few of its sacred cows in the process.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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