The Vision Pro headset is poised to become one of the most important products Apple has introduced in years, and it has the potential to usher in a new era of success for the company. But at the same time, there’s a risk that it could kill the Mac line by giving a lot of people something that can completely replace their computers.
This means Apple will have to be very careful in how it handles the Vision Pro. There’s no doubt that it wants more people to buy it, but it wants that to happen without sacrificing sales of its other devices. After all, how will he do this?
Since the beginning, Apple has been busy promoting the capabilities of the Vision Pro. The company calls it a “spatial computer,” suggesting that we need to completely re-imagine what a computer is in the first place. The product’s steep $3,500 price tag and abundance of high-end materials and technologies give it an undeniably premium feel, far more than even the best VR headsets we’ve seen.
Plus, Apple claims the Vision Pro will be able to perform many of the tasks you typically do with a laptop or desktop computer, from gaming and video calling to writing documents and browsing photos.
To be clear, Apple didn’t explicitly pit the Vision Pro and the Mac head-to-head during its reveal event, nor did it ever say you could go ahead and ditch your Mac. But if you look at what both products can do the comparison is clear. And that’s apparently what Meta is trying to do with Quest Pro.
Again, the risk is that users are asking why they need to bother with a Mac. If the Vision Pro can do 99% of the things a Mac can do, why not just get a headset? Of course, things are a little more complicated than that.
‘Buy them all’ ecosystem
Apple is an ecosystem company, and that means all the devices it makes fit together perfectly. Like every other business, Apple wants you to buy as many of its products as possible, but the way Apple has structured its ecosystem makes it a far more attractive prospect than many of its competitors, because everything is a It happens with ease.
If the Vision Pro lives up to its promises, it could blur the boundaries of those products. Sure, it’s expensive, but you can get the latest MacBook Pro so packed with extra features that it’ll cost you $7,199 — twice the price of the Vision Pro. If you’re willing to spend that much — and if the Vision Pro does everything the MacBook does and more — then getting a headset instead isn’t that big a leap.
Still, despite the similar capabilities, I feel like Apple is trying much harder to ensure you No Leave the Mac for Vision Pro, or vice versa. To me, the term “spatial computer” implies something different from a regular computer, and Apple has explained ways you can use both products together. In reality, of course, they can do many of the same things, but Apple doesn’t want you to abandon one over the other just because of that inconvenient fact. It wants you to see them as complementary.
Remember when Apple said the iPad could replace the PC? The company hasn’t done this with the Vision Pro, and I think that’s only because it wants you to buy the Vision Pro And A Mac. And right now, there are some very strong reasons why you might not want to give up your Mac for a headset.
As things stand, the Vision Pro can really only theoretically replace the Mac, and even then, only in a few limited scenarios. On the surface, this might make sense if you want to watch movies, work with multiple displays, or make video calls. But would you pay $3,500 to do so? A cheaper MacBook would be equally capable.
And what if you render video? Or play the best Mac games with a mouse and keyboard? Or work with data-heavy mathematical models? In those cases (and many more), chances are you’ll need a Mac.
Apple has decided to launch its high-end, high-priced headsets first, while holding back the rumored cheaper models for a while. This could be a very deliberate move to ensure that the Vision Pro doesn’t impact Mac sales too much by positioning it as a premium device far above the cost of most Macs. After all, you can buy a Mac mini for $599 — you can’t say the same about the Vision Pro. However, when cheaper headsets launch, that differentiation may become much harder to enforce.
I have no doubt that the Vision Pro is going to be an incredible device, and perhaps it could replace the Mac for some people. But if Apple is going to turn this into the company’s next big thing, it’s going to have to convince a lot of people that it’s not only better than their existing technology, but could replace it entirely. Based on what we’ve seen so far, that’s unlikely to happen until the cheaper Vision Pro sees the light of day.