When Apple unveiled its upcoming mixed reality headset called Apple Vision Pro at its WWDC keynote on Monday, it evoked some memories of January 2007. Back then, Steve Jobs had introduced the long-rumored Apple phone, the iPhone, to a mesmerized audience. And while yesterday’s keynote was pre-recorded, so there were no “oohs” and “ahhs” and no knowing round of applause when Tim Cook announced that he had “one more thing” to show, there was also a shiny new device with an all-new, “magical” user interface that is supposed to ring in a new era of computing.
“In the same way that Mac introduced us to personal computing and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro will introduce us to spatial computing,” Tim Cook said in the presentation, leaning into the public expectation that the Vision Pro will be the next big thing for Apple and the world. And while the select few that got to try the new device right after the announcement were widely impressed, there was also a feeling of skepticism, as it isn’t yet clear what the standout use case, the so-called “killer app” of such a device is or might become.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad product, however. The same was arguably true when the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015 and most people agreed that it was a nice piece of tech but didn’t really know what to do with it. Over time, the watch found its purpose and Apple pivoted more and more towards it being a health and fitness device rather than an iPhone for your wrist. Even the first iPhone was very limited in actual features from today’s point of view, and we all know how that played out.
Since its launch in June 2007, the iPhone went from zero to more than $200 billion in annual revenue, helping Apple to become the most valuable company in history. Considering the price of $3,499, it seems unlikely for the Vision Pro to become a hit product right away, but the price might come down over time, giving early adopters and developers a couple of years to figure out what to do with this new, powerful piece of technology.