Sizeable cut to production numbers of Apple’s Vision Pro headsets, due to reported problems with its manufacturing
Apple’s push into the world of virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality devices may be tempered somewhat, amid reports of manufacturing difficulties.
The Financial Times reported that Apple is slashing production targets for its Vision Pro headset because manufacturers are struggling with the novel gadget’s complex design.
Vision Pro headset
The Vision Pro headset differs to competitors such as Sony or Facebook parent Meta Platforms, which have principally focused on games or fully immersive “metaverse” social experiences.
Instead Apple highlighted the continuity with its other products, such as the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, in a concept it calls “spatial computing”.
CEO Tim Cook has said the device “seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world”.
“Spatial computing” means, for instance, that the device starts up with a view of the user’s surroundings overlaid with a familiar home screen showing a list of apps, not so different from the home screen of an iPhone or an iPad.
iOS and iPadOS apps will mostly run on the Vision Pro unmodified, or with minimal modifications, Apple has said, while those who tried out the device said its gesture-based interface was easy to learn because of its similarity to touchscreen gestures.
But it is expensive, costing roughly $3,499 (£2,849) headsets, and Apple is said to still be finalising plans on when to begin selling the device (the US launch has been touted for early 2024).
But now the FT has reported (citing unidentified people close to Apple and Luxshare Precision Industry Co) that besides the high purchase price, Apple is now preparing to make fewer than 400,000 units of the $3,499 headset in 2024.
The FT reported that two China-based suppliers of components said Apple was only asking for enough parts for 130,000 to 150,000 units in the first year, while plans for a cheaper version have been pushed back, the FT reported.
The new projections are down sharply from a previous internal sales target of 1 million units in the first 12 months, according to the Financial Times.