When Apple launched the Apple Watch in 2015, it was a typical move for the company. But as Apple prepares to offer its next generation of wearable computing, the Vision Pro augmented reality device, it is quietly entering the consumer marketplace with a low-key approach.
Sales of the Vision Pro are set to begin Friday, without a big product event. Apple has created a commercial and offered individual demonstrations to tech reviewers. Furthermore, the Vision Pro has been tested with more developers than past products to gather feedback on the device.
The challenges facing Apple in selling the Vision Pro include the high price of $3,500, and limited interest in augmented reality technology. The company is expected to market the device more broadly after reducing the price and improving the technology.
Analysts predict that Apple will sell about 400,000 units of the Vision Pro this year, significantly fewer than the 12 million Apple Watches sold in 2015. Apple is taking a slow approach to generate interest with developers before targeting mainstream consumers.
The company has invested billions of dollars in developing the Vision Pro, which looks like ski goggles and uses cameras and sensors to track people’s eyes and hand movements. Despite the long development period, augmented reality devices have not yet gained widespread popularity with consumers.
Apple has focused on engaging developers, asking them to create spatial computing apps for the Vision Pro. It has also worked with entertainment companies to offer content experiences, such as movies and music, on the device.
Promoting the Vision Pro, Apple has run a commercial on national television featuring famous movie characters donning headsets. However, the company’s ad spending on the Vision Pro has been less than that of the iPhone.
The company’s low-key approach to the Vision Pro reflects the understanding that it may take time for the product to gain widespread appeal.