The $3,000 price tag isn't the only reason you won't get Apple's new VR/AR headset — here's what we know

apple vr and mixed reality headset fan render front view on blue background
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

Depending on who you ask, the Apple VR/AR headset is either going to reshape VR headsets forever or be an expensive disaster when it debuts at WWDC 2023. Turns out, if you ask Apple, they’re not exactly expecting sales of the headset to skyrocket.

At least, that’s if this most recent report is believed to be true. A new TrendForce report suggests that the expected production for the first year is now less than 100,000 units. That’s a massive downgrade in expectations for the Apple mixed reality headset — possibly dubbed the Apple Reality Pro — which just a few days ago was projected to sell 900,000 units over its lifetime.

And that was already a downgrade. Initially, the Apple VR/AR headset was projected to sell around 3 million units — admittedly still a far cry from the 200 million iPhones that Apple sells every year. But now, Apple may be expecting that number to be reduced by a factor of 10. The TrendForce report suggests that the first generation of the Apple Reality Pro may be limited to a maximum of 300,000 units.

So unfortunately for early adopters, it looks like a $3,000 price tag might not be the only factor preventing you from getting Apple’s first VR headset.

It’s okay if the Apple Reality Pro doesn’t sell big

3D render of Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Marcus Kane/Sketchfab)

Here’s the thing though — as disastrous as this all sounds, it’s not the end of the world. But only if Apple is willing to play the long game.

And it seems that Apple is willing to do exactly that, even prior to expected shipped units being slashed multiple times. All reports indicate that, like with previous products like the iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple wants this first-generation headset to change the perception of how we use a product — in this case, VR headsets. Apple reportedly plans to do this by introducing features such as the Reality Dial, which will allow users to toggle between immersive VR and holographic AR overlays.

Apple also seems to have a plan in place to expand its mixed reality product line. A cheaper version of the Apple VR/AR headset is tipped to arrive in 2025 which will make the headset more accessible to the average customer — possibly replacing your next MacBook altogether, though obviously Apple likely will design it to work in concert with the rest of its ecosystem rather than encouraging users to ditch a product line altogether.

So despite several production delays and $1,500 worth of parts that prevent the $3,000 from ever being affordable, if Apple just sticks to its guns it can still succeed with the Apple Reality Pro. Even if it only sells 300,000 units. 

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.