In anticipation of the pre-orders for Apple’s Vision Pro, TrendForce has identified the device as a crucial strategic move by the tech giant to expand its presence in the virtual head-mounted device market and make a significant entry into the VR/AR market. Projections from TrendForce suggest that if initial sales are robust, Vision Pro shipments could reach an impressive 500,000 to 600,000 units in 2024.
The spotlight is firmly on spatial computing following the debut of the Vision Pro, a groundbreaking feature that enables users to interact with virtual objects in a manner that feels remarkably natural. This technological leap is not only a triumph for Apple but also positions the company as a trendsetter in the industry.
CES 2024 also echoed the concept of spatial computing, with companies like Sony unveiling their XR head-mounted device focused on intuitive spatial content creation and interaction. Other major players like Qualcomm, HTC, Asus, JORJIN, and RayNeo showcased their VR/AR products, generating industry excitement potentially fueled by anticipation of Apple’s Vision Pro.
Overcoming Challenges: Battery Life, Applications, and Price
While the Vision Pro faces challenges in battery life, limited applications, and a steep price tag, Apple is actively addressing these concerns. The device, designed with a focus beyond gaming, allows external power sources, making mobility less of a concern. The portable battery offers a comparable two-hour lifespan to current mainstream VR devices.
Post-launch, Apple has facilitated application development for the Vision Pro by releasing a suite of developer tools and compatibility assessment platforms. This initiative aims to seamlessly adapt existing applications to the new platform, eliminating barriers for Apple developers to innovate and create new services. Leveraging tools like UEVR for converting traditional games into VR formats, a diverse range of applications is expected to emerge, supported by Apple’s strong brand presence.
In terms of pricing, the $3,499 price point is expected to resonate with the market, given the promise of ample applications, a quality user experience, and Apple’s established brand loyalty. Speculations about a more budget-friendly version could further accentuate the value proposition of the Vision Pro, potentially driving consumer interest towards it.
Supply Chain Dynamics: SeeYA Joins Apple’s Micro OLED Supplier List
For a mixed reality spatial computing device like the Vision Pro, high-resolution and refresh rate displays are crucial for an immersive experience. Apple’s Micro OLED display, currently supplied by TSMC CMOS backplanes and Sony’s deposition process, faces a production yield rate of only about 50 percent. This low yield contributes to the high cost of $700 per pair of Micro OLED panels and limits Sony’s actual supply capacity to around 1 million panels this year.
In response, Apple is diversifying its Micro OLED suppliers, actively exploring partnerships with Chinese Micro OLED giant SeeYA. This move aims to bring SeeYA on board as a secondary supplier as early as the third quarter of 2024, addressing cost efficiency and production scalability for the Vision Pro.
Contrasting Strategies in the VR/AR Market: Apple vs. Meta
As the VR/AR market evolves, the strategies of major players like Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook) are becoming increasingly clear. Meta’s Quest 3 focuses on affordability, comfort, and enhanced VR experiences, likely targeting a broader consumer demographic. Retailing at $499, Quest 3 features a 40 percent size reduction, a fresh Snapdragon chipset, high-fidelity color passthrough, and an initial storage capacity of 128GB, with expansions on the horizon.
On the other hand, Apple’s Vision Pro targets the upper echelons of the market, presenting a mixed reality headset with high-definition displays and unique functionalities such as eye tracking, hand tracking, and voice inputs.
Priced at $3,499, it incorporates a dual M2 and R1 chip configuration, offers 4K resolution per eye, and includes a two-hour battery life with an auxiliary battery pack, according to Saurabh Daga, Associate Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData.