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Apple Vision Pro: New Reality for Immersive Experiences

Today Apple unveiled its Apple Vision Pro Augmented Reality headset, designed for developers first at $3,499, and with an uncertain release date pegged for “early 2024”.

Extended reality / metaverse concepts represent a generational opportunity to create a dominant consumer interactivity platform on the scale of the web. Spanning devices, platforms, applications, content, and transactions, the metaverse—built on extended reality (XR) technologies—enables disruptors to challenge the dominance of mobile platforms. This is one reason why Apple is jumping into the market ahead of its normal product release strategy of ensuring a market for the product and digital goods is first created and established by others, and underlying technology are mature enough to provide an incredible consumer experience.

Parks Associates research conducted in Q3 2022 finds that 35% of consumers in US internet households are familiar with virtual reality headsets and 30% are familiar with the term Augmented Reality, 10 years after Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and Google demo-ed Google Glass. Just 27% are familiar with the term Metaverse.

Virtual Timeline

Adoption of VR headsets lags other gaming devices significantly.  Just 11% of US internet households own a VR headset today, compared to 45% owning a gaming console.  As a trailing indicator, VR content sales are a fraction of content sales for other platforms. In October, Meta announced that it surpassed $1.5 billion in content sales since 2019. By contrast, Apple’s app store has grossed about $212 billion in the same period, including $85 billion in 2022 alone.

Another worrisome indicator is the fall in system usage. 70% of VR headset owners say they use their headset less now than when they first got it. The next generation of virtual and mixed reality headsets need to provide compelling content that brings users back again and again to drive repeat sales and future system upgrades.

Apple is already attracting the applications and premium content consumers expect with 100 Apple Arcade games available at launch and the ability to watch Disney+ directly on the headset. The category needs Apple’s brand power, content ecosystem, developer relationships, and focus on premium consumer experiences to validate and lift the category.

Parks Associates Quantified Consumer study, Immersive Entertainment: AR, VR, Metaverse examines immersive entertainment adoption and perspectives today, with competitive insights on key players’ performance in the VR and AR markets. It also assesses consumer attitudes toward VR, barriers to adoption, and familiarity with metaverse concepts.

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