Apple, though absent from CES, managed to cast a long shadow over the tech event with the announcement of its highly anticipated Vision Pro headset.
Set to launch on February 2nd, the headset’s arrival was eagerly awaited, especially since Apple had previously hinted at an early-year release. This set the stage for a fierce competition among rivals to showcase groundbreaking ideas in virtual and augmented reality at CES 2024.
However, the expected surge of competing products did not materialize. While many companies presented their AR and VR technologies, few ventured into direct competition with Apple’s Vision Pro.
Several headsets displayed functionalities similar to the Vision Pro, such as an AR/VR monitor for computers or a suQualcomm-made VR chip. Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chipset for mixed reality devices, expected to power upcoming devices from Sony, Samsung, and Google.
The absence of Vision Pro-style competitors at CES suggests that, for now, Apple operates in a league of its own. The company excels in developing high-quality passthrough AR/VR hardware, complemented by robust software development tools.
Apple’s Spatial Computing Vision
Apple is banking on developers leveraging these tools to create exceptional apps, potentially paving the way for the realization of spatial computing.
Apple’s Vision Pro, positioned at the extreme high end, boasts dual 4K displays, an external display for social cues, the powerful M2 chip, and an array of cameras and sensors for precise tracking. Priced at $3,499 with the potential for higher-priced variants, the Vision Pro targets a premium market segment.
While it remains unclear why other companies at CES did not directly challenge Apple, plausible reasons include avoiding competition with the tech giant and the substantial investment of time and money required for high-end hardware development.
Notably, Meta’s Quest Pro faced challenges, initially priced at $1,499 and later receiving a significant price cut.
Apple’s Vision Pro may face hurdles, including its high cost and unconventional appearance. Questions also linger about whether the device offers distinctive features justifying its premium price.
Yet, for now, Apple stands alone in the lane it has chosen, leaving the industry to watch and speculate about the Vision Pro’s ultimate success or failure.