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Apple Vision Pro | Image: Apple

Apple Slashes Vision Pro Orders After Lacklustre Demand

Despite months of anticipation and rumours leading up to its February launch, Apple’s Vision Pro headset is reportedly failing to meet expectations. A recent report by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the company has cut production orders for the Apple Vision Pro VR headset in 2024, even before its international release, suggesting weaker-than-expected US sales. According to Kuo’s sources, Apple now expects to sell only around 400,000 to 450,000 units, down from a “market consensus” of 700,000 to 800,000.

Though Apple positioned the Vision Pro headset as its “next big thing” with a much-hyped launch, demand for the USD$3,500 (AUD$5,290) device has fallen far short of the company’s expectations, which isn’t entirely surprising given its steep price tag and a virtually non-existent app ecosystem.

RELATED: Despite Owning VR Headsets, Teenagers Aren’t Using Them, Study Suggests

Apple vision pro
Apple now expects to sell only around 400,000 to 450,000 units, down from a “market consensus” of 700,000 to 800,000 | Image: Apple

Kuo’s recent report goes on to indicate a significant drop in the demand for the Vision Pro in the U.S., with orders now being scaled back, a sign that demand has “fallen sharply beyond expectations.” Consequently, Apple is likely to adopt a “conservative view” regarding headset demand when the Vision Pro launches in upcoming international markets.

Ming-Chi Kuo discusses the primary concerns surrounding the Apple Vision Pro in his blog post, highlighting the need to tackle issues such as the absence of essential applications, pricing concerns, and ensuring headset comfort, all while maintaining an uncompromised see-through user experience. “The challenge for Vision Pro is to address the lack of key applications, price, and headset comfort without sacrificing the see-through user experience,” he writes. “In contrast, VR is also a niche market, but at least there are proven successful applications (games), and trend visibility is better than MR.”

Apple vision pro availability
Image: Apple

He further explains that in response to the unexpected decline in momentum, Apple is revising its VR headset roadmap, potentially delaying the introduction of a lower-cost entry mixed reality headset until after 2025, (if at all). Additionally, Kuo notes that Apple “now expects Vision Pro shipments to decline YoY (year over year) in 2025.” Kuo also suggests that the demand for specific VR and AR components, such as Micro OLED displays, might not achieve the necessary adoption rate required for mass production to integrate them into other devices.

Apple’s Vision Pro is undoubtedly unlike anything else on the market right now and has won over many early adopters with its innovative features; however, it hasn’t been enough. Like every other VR headset on the market, the Vision Pro also suffers from common VR limitations such as discomfort during long-wear sessions, a limited selection of apps (including many core apps missing that exist on other Apple devices), and its relatively high price compared to other entertainment devices or most VR headsets available.

It’ll be interesting to see what plans Apple has for the Vision Pro and whether the upcoming VisionOS 2.0 update can reignite developer interest and incentivise them to create apps and experiences for the platform. Apple has yet to respond to the report.