Multiple reports this week indicate that Apple may be planning a future version of its $3,000 Apple Reality Pro VR headset that will be cheaper than the first device it is set to launch, and could be priced around the same bracket as its iPhone range.
According to The Information's Wayne Ma, who has shared a swathe of inside information about the headset to date, Apple is planning to unveil its new mixed-reality headset, Apple Reality Pro, at a price of up to $3,000. However, as the report acknowledges, that could really test the limits of just how much even die-hard Apple customers and fans are willing to pay for its latest tech.
As a result, Ma now says that "the company’s engineers are already at work on a more affordable version of the headset to reach more consumers," according to three people familiar with the matter.
The cost of an iPhone
The report says that Apple "has discussed pricing the more budget-friendly headset around the price of the iPhone," unfortunately, however, it doesn't say which one. Apple currently sells iPhones for as little as $429, however, its best iPhone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max costs upwards of $1,300 and as much as $1,600.
To get down to a lower price point, the cheaper version of the headset will reportedly use less expensive components to bring down the cost. This version of the headset is apparently in the "early stages" of development, so there isn't even a working prototype of it yet. However, Ma says Apple is pushing to ship the cheaper headset by 2024.
Ma reiterated previous reports that Apple Reality Pro will feature "ultra-high-definition displays, custom processors and a tethered battery pack," as well as multiple cameras for eye tracking and capturing body movement.
The cheaper model could include 4K displays, rather than the 8K used in the premium model, and fewer external cameras. Slower processors and manually adjusting the headset's display, rather than using motors to tweak the field of view, are cost-cutting changes also on the table.
Ma says the cheaper version could also feature a battery built into the headband, and may not feature a custom H2 wireless chip to improve compatibility with AirPods.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman also briefly mentioned Tuesday that Apple is planning to follow up Apple VR "with a lower-cost version of the mixed-reality headset as soon as 2024 or early 2025."
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9