Home   >   News

Apple scales back production of highly-anticipated Vision Pro headset

Issues relating to the supply chain and concerns over quality may lead to a significant cut to the originally proposed one million unit production run
Apple scales back production of highly-anticipated Vision Pro headset
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

Apple is set to scale back production on the Vision Pro, their highly anticipated AR/VR device, to 400,000 units in their first year, far below an earlier internal target of one million units.

That’s according to the latest reporting from the Financial Times who cite sources close to the matter. Apple is developing the Vision Pro in partnership with manufacturing contractor Luxshare, a Chinese company in a market that is only recently emerging from a strict set of pandemic restrictions which saw global production of electronics slow noticeably. Aside from this possible pressure on the manufacturer, estimates of how many units the Vision Pro may sell have been the subject of much debate.

The Financial Times themselves note that Webdush predicted only 150,000 units would be shipped in the first year, while Morgan Stanley predicted more than 850,000. Meanwhile Goldman Sachs highballed even further to 5m by 2024. It reflects both comparisons made to the original iPhone, and yet scepticism about the widespread appeal of a device which will retail at an Apple-confirmed 'starting at' price of $3499.

Apple stewing

One million units at launch is an ambitious target for such a complex device, and while demand may eventually see more people desiring to purchase it, a lower initial production run - as is being rumoured - will ease pressure on their supply chain and ensure a relatively sizable number is still made available to customers.

That said, naysayers will be reading much into these reduced numbers, speculating that despite there being over half a year to go to launch, that Apple are already predicting a lukewarm reception. After all, the differences between a multi-function, broad market device such as the original iPhone and a much narrower-scope headset device are distinct.

It's rumoured that the main factor for the reduction is Apple’s concern over the quality of micro-OLED displays used in the Vision Pro. Given how advanced the Vision Pro is - going some way to explain why the price is so eye-watering - Apple will have more pressure than ever to make sure that it’s built to the highest standards. And given how important first impressions are, a more perfect but lower first run is probably more important than the threat of revealing flawed units for what is already a niche product. 

It’s also worth noting that, before it became the gold standard for mobile phones, the iPhone only saw sales of 1.9m in its debut year of 2007, far less than then-dominant products from rivals Samsung and LG which were selling in the hundreds of million a year

Interestingly it seems that the decision for reduced production has not been discussed with Luxshare, who were said to be “disappointed” when the new estimated came to light, as they had already been gearing up production to meet an 18m units per-annum target.

Of course, it should be remembered that, in favour of an iPhone comparison, the Vision Pro does offer more functionality than comparable AR/VR headsets for applications beyond games and creative uses. But the Financial Times also note that plans for a lower-cost version of the device have been pushed back.

It seems that, just as with the iPhone, the Apple Vision Pro's breakthrough will occur either when a reduced, mass market price-tag can be offered, or when the device's percieved value and worth matches the price being asked for it. Either way, it seems that both scenarios may not be on the cards for some time yet.