TikTok maker ByteDance scraps VR headset in favor of high-end Apple Vision Pro rival

PICO 4 headset
(Image credit: PICO)

ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, has reportedly scrapped its Pico 5 VR headset in favor of a higher-end model designed to compete with Apple Vision Pro. 

According to a new report from The Information seen by iMore, “ByteDance is canceling the next version of the virtual reality headset from its Pico subsidiary, the Pico 5” after sales of its Pico 4 “fell far short of ByteDance’s Expectations.” 

However, this headset, which was seen as a rival to Meta’s Quest series, isn’t the end of ByteDance’s VR aspirations. Instead, the company is now putting all of its efforts into a “high-end headset” that has been in the works for some time. Codenamed “Swan,” the headset is “inspired in part by Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset” but remains “largely experimental and conceptual” at this time. 

In the meantime, ByteDance will still release an updated Pico 4, following the original which came out just over a year ago. 

Setting a new trend with Vision Pro? 

It’s very interesting that a company with the resources and clout of ByteDance would choose to walk away from the Meta-dominated low-end of the virtual reality market. As the report notes, the sector as a whole “remains relatively niche,” but this pivot to an Apple Vision Pro rival possibly signals a wider belief that companies see the future of VR and mixed reality in high-end luxury products more akin to Apple’s $3,500 headset.  

Apple has confirmed the Vision Pro will launch “early” in 2024, with the latest leaks pointing to a rollout in March or possibly even earlier. It was recently reported that Apple had internally targeted January as a release window, but this looks like a slim prospect at this point. Apple’s “spatial computing” headset will offer entertainment and collaboration features as well as games, immersive environments, and much more. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

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