Sunday, June 16, 2024

Vision Pro 2: everything we expect about the future of Apple’s headsets

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Apple’s Vision Pro headset has just made a huge splash in the tech world, but Apple is already planning to follow it up with two new models that could take the headset to new heights — and put it into the hands of more people. That includes a second-generation Apple Vision Pro, as well as a pared-back headset with a lower price.

Contents

  • Vision Pro 2: price and release date
  • Vision Pro 2: what will it be called?
  • Vision Pro 2: features
  • What about the cheaper headset?
  • What else is Apple working on?

What exactly should we expect from these devices? What kind of features will they offer, and when will they launch? If you’re seeking the answers to all those questions and more, you’re in the right place, as our rumor roundup will guide you through everything you need to know. Let’s get started.

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Vision Pro 2: price and release date

Apple

Since the first-generation Apple Vision Pro has only just been announced (and won’t launch until 2024), it’s going to be a little while until the follow-up sees the light of day. According to industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Vision Pro 2 is likely to be unveiled in 2025.

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Kuo says the second-generation headset will come in two flavors: a high-end successor to the original Vision Pro, and a scaled-back version with a cheaper price (which we’ll come to later in this article). If that’s the case, it’s likely that both models will be revealed at the same time.

As for the price, we’re expecting the Apple Vision Pro 2 to cost around the same as the $3,499 Vision Pro. While some components will probably become cheaper, Apple will want to increase the performance and feature set of the device. So don’t expect too much movement here.

Vision Pro 2: what will it be called?

Apple

The Vision Pro name was a surprise to many Apple followers, as for months the rumor mill had suggested Apple would call it the Reality Pro. The indication now is that Apple’s next-generation headsets will follow this Vision naming system and not use the Reality moniker instead.

We’re calling the second-generation model Apple Vision Pro 2 for simplicity, but Apple might decide to call it Vision Pro (2nd Generation) or simply keep the Vision Pro name and not differentiate it with a model number. It takes one of these two approaches for almost every hardware product it makes barring the iPhone.

The cheaper headset was previously rumored to be called Reality One, so we could see Apple call it the Vision One instead, or just Apple Vision. The fact that the high-end headset is called Vision Pro implies there’s going to be a non-Pro version, which lends weight to the pared-back Apple Vision naming idea.

Vision Pro 2: features

Apple

Rumors about the Vision Pro 2’s features are a little thin on the ground at the moment, but there have been some murmurings. For one thing, it’s expected to come with a faster processor — potentially either Apple’s M3 or M4 chip, according to journalist Mark Gurman. That’s because the current model is “not powerful enough to output graphics at a level Apple would ideally like,” Gurman says.

Meanwhile, Ming-Chi Kuo believes that “The cost of the second-generation pancake lenses [inside the headset] will likely increase to improve the visual experience and form factor design.” So, expect more visual fidelity and perhaps a new design.

Elsewhere, Kuo also thinks the headset could get a wide-ranging redesign for its second-generation model, with a lighter chassis that features a fresh industrial design, a faster processor, and a new battery system.

What about the cheaper headset?

Apple

Reports have indicated that the Vision Pro is priced at or close to the cost of production, so if Apple is going to produce a cheaper headset, it will have to make a lot of cuts to keep the price down. If it succeeds, Gurman believes that Apple can knock “several hundred dollars” off the price of the Vision Pro.

The cheaper headset was previously rumored to cost $1,500, but that was when the Vision Pro price was assumed to be $3,000. With the higher $3,499 price, the lower-cost device could be $2,000 or even $2,500. According to The Information (via 9to5Mac), Apple is aiming to price it around the same level as an iPhone. For reference, the iPhone 14 currently costs $799 to $1,599.

Mark Gurman thinks the more affordable headset could be unveiled “as early as the end of 2025,” but that 2026 is possible. Kuo also thinks 2025 is a possible launch date. As we mentioned earlier, expect the Apple Vision and Vision Pro 2 headsets to be revealed at the same time.

While the cheaper Apple Vision headset will still adopt the mixed-reality approach of the Vision Pro, it will cut back on many features to bring the price down. According to Mark Gurman, these could include:

  • Lower quality displays
  • Using an iPhone or older Mac chip
  • Fewer cameras
  • A simpler headband design without built-in speakers (AirPods could be used instead)
  • Manual instead of automatic pupil adjustments
  • Removing the 3D camera
  • A cheaper frame

Gurman also states that over time, the manufacturing process will get cheaper, and economies of scale will help too.

The Information agrees that Apple could reduce the display quality and processor performance, and might use cheaper materials. The outlet also thinks Apple could drop the H2 chip that is used to lower the latency with paired AirPods.

All that said, Mark Gurman believes Apple will not compromise in a few areas. That includes the outward-facing screen (dubbed EyeSight by Apple) and the eye- and hand-tracking capabilities.

What else is Apple working on?

There have long been rumors that Apple is developing a set of augmented reality (AR) glasses, which could include many of the features of the Vision Pro but in a much smaller package.

However, Mark Gurman reported in January 2023 that Apple had postponed the development of its AR glasses “indefinitely.” Gurman offered an update in May 2023, saying that the glasses were at least four years away from launching, so you shouldn’t expect them any time soon. Indeed, Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t think they will launch until 2026 or 2027 at the earliest.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is also experimenting with AR contact lenses that could launch at some point in the 2030s. That’s way off in the future, though, and like many experimental projects, Apple might decide not to go ahead with it in the end.

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