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Apple working on more affordable AR headset models, likely to launch around end-2025

Apple recently unveiled its first ever augmented reality (AR) headset, called Apple Vision Pro, priced at $3,499. However, the company is already focusing on developing multiple follow-up models. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman revealed that Apple intends to launch a more affordable version of the headset by the end of 2025, likely named “Apple Vision One” or simply “Apple Vision.”

According to Gurman, Apple aims to pursue a two-product strategy, similar to its approach with the standard iPhone and iPhone Pro. Given that the estimated cost to produce the Vision Pro aligns closely with its retail price, Gurman speculates that Apple may opt for cheaper components in the more affordable model. This could involve replacing the twin 4K microLED displays and the M2 Apple silicon chip, as well as using fewer cameras. Apple might also simplify the headband design by excluding integrated speakers and instead rely on AirPods for spatial audio.

However, Gurman believes that certain features will remain unchanged in the cheaper version. The external screen, called EyeSight, which displays a wearer’s eyes, and the eye- and hand-tracking system are considered integral to the Apple Vision experience, akin to the touchscreen on an iPhone.

While some commentators initially questioned the inclusion of an outward-facing display in the Vision Pro, as it adds cost and potentially drains battery life, Apple views the EyeSight feature as a crucial differentiator from other enclosed AR/VR headsets. It allows users to maintain a sense of connection with others. By reducing material costs in various areas and streamlining the production process, Apple could potentially lower the price of the headset by several hundred dollars, as Gurman suggests.

Reports about Apple’s plan to introduce a more affordable version of its spatial computing headset first surfaced in January through publications like The Information and Bloomberg. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also supported the notion that Apple intends to offer a two-tiered lineup of headsets by the end of 2025.