Apple VR/AR headset rumors have sent mixed signals about what Apple's first mixed-reality wearable might offer, but thanks to a new tip, we now have an idea of when the device could be announced and how hard it might hit your wallet.
In a recent tweet (opens in new tab), analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that the rumored Apple VR/AR headset could launch with a price point between $2,000 to $2,500. As Kuo previously suggested, the headset might be announced in January 2023 with a release date to follow later in the year.
While there has been plenty of price speculation in the past, this rumor seems to narrow down the range significantly. Previous Apple VR/AR headset price rumors have ranged from as low as $1,000 to as high as $3,000. Though $1,000 sounded suspiciously low, Kuo's latest report claims that Apple’s first VR/AR headset will not come cheap, landing on the pricer end of earlier cost estimates.
Should you be an Apple VR/AR early adopter?
Obviously, there are always risks with early adoption. Even in the best cases, there are usually buggy features or experiences that aren't addressed until second-generation models of devices. Plus, no modern piece of technology comes without the need for troubleshooting and updates at some point.
There is some information in Kuo’s report that indicates that Apple might be using the first iteration of the VR/AR mixed reality headset as a trial run for the ambitions of its VR/AR hardware division.
Kuo suggests that shipments of the first-generation headset will be low in volume, with less than 1.5 million units expected to ship in the first year. One theory is that this debut model will serve as a test for Apple's place in the larger mixed reality market. If there is significant demand, Apple could transition its headset to the mass market, eventually lowering prices for consumers.
Still, we could wind up waiting for subsequent generations of the Apple VR/AR headset to see a price reduction. That could mean being patient: a second generation is currently rumored for 2025, which isn't anytime soon.
If you've been following Apple VR/AR headset rumors closely, the price of early adoption might be worth it to you. But know that there's a chance you'll pay more for a device that could still have some issues to work out.
How does the Apple VR/AR headset price compare to the competition?
At the moment, there seems to be a trend of VR and mixed reality headsets getting more expensive. The Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus Quest 2) just got a $100 price hike. The rumored Pico 4 is unlikely to be much cheaper based on how Pico has historically priced against the Oculus devices.
Plus, Meta is now branching out into even more expensive hardware. While the rumored Meta Quest 3 has yet to have any pricing details leak, the higher-end Project Cambria or Meta Quest Pro is rumored to cost $1,500 at launch. While that would make it a bit more affordable than the Apple VR/AR headset might be, it's positioned to become one of the most expensive headsets on the market.
In short, the days of the — relatively — cheap VR headset could be numbered. So while the $2,000 or greater price point for the Apple VR/AR headset may seem steep, we may find that it fits in line with the industry’s future.