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Mobile Mavens: Is the Vision Pro the next iPhone moment?

We asked industry experts for their thoughts on the reveal of Apple’s Vision pro mixed reality headset
Mobile Mavens: Is the Vision Pro the next iPhone moment?
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Rumour and speculation regarding Apple’s mixed reality headset have been circling for some time now, but finally, the curtain has lifted, and the Vision Pro was shown at Apples recent WWDC event. Many expected this reveal to be "the next iPhone moment", whereas others were already sceptical of the tech and its possible price tag.

So, now it’s out in the open, what does the industry think about Apple’s new shiny headset? Will this kickstart a new revolution in apps? Can that even be possible with a device that has a price point of $3,499? We asked the experts what they think of the Vision Pro, and here’s what they said.

Patrick   O’Luanaigh

Patrick O’Luanaigh

CEO at nDreams

I’m very excited about the Vision Pro. There is a lot of potential, and it appears that Apple has absolutely nailed the most important thing (input and user experience). This first headset is expensive and won’t be mass-market, but it’s not meant to be. It’s the start of a new product line which makes their future vision and direction of travel clear. It’s powerful with great industrial design and has huge potential.

I think it provides a very positive challenge to developers. The ‘play 2D phone games on a big screen’ doesn’t personally excite me, but the ability to make whole new kinds of VR, MR and blended reality 3D games is fantastic. Again, I think the iPhone analogy is a great one - when the iPhone was announced, people wondered why it didn’t come with game controllers to play games. But it was never trying to be a game console - iPhone games are brilliant because they are iPhone games, designed for the touch interface, not copies of console or PC games. The same will be true on the Vision product line, I think. I’m sure we’ll see brilliant games, but they will be new kinds of games. And you can still play amazing core VR games on other headsets, just like you can happily own both an iPhone and a PS5.

At Ndreams, we’re already working on some very cool and innovative games, designs and prototypes which fit really closely into what Apple announced. I think this announcement will help the VR/MR market continue to scale rapidly, which is great news for everyone working in the space, regardless of whether you’re building for Apple, Meta, Sony, Pico or all of them.

Stuart    De Ville

Stuart De Ville

Director at Fribbly Games

Apple's announcement of the Vision Pro appears to be a significant step forward in terms of technology and innovation. Its features, such as an infinite canvas, spatial audio, and a 3D camera, aim to transform the user experience across various applications and activities. Whether it is the "iPhone moment" some expected, well, it's important to note that the iPhone revolutionised the smartphone industry with its multi-touch interface and App Store ecosystem. The Vision Pro, on the other hand, seems to focus more on enhancing the immersive experience and productivity rather than being a groundbreaking shift in the same way the iPhone was. So while the Vision Pro is a notable product, it may not have the same disruptive impact as the iPhone!

For gamers, the Vision Pro could potentially offer an enhanced experience due to its spatial audio, larger display, and 3D camera capabilities. These features can provide a more immersive and engaging gameplay environment. However, the success of the Vision Pro in the gaming industry will depend on factors such as developer support, the availability of optimised games, and how well it competes with existing gaming platforms.

The high price point of the Vision Pro makes it challenging to determine whether it aligns with predictions or what price would encourage mass adoption. People pay premium prices for Apple products after all.
Ultimately, the success and impact of Vision Pro will be determined by how well it resonates with consumers, the adoption rate, and the ecosystem that develops around it.

Kristan Rivers

Kristan Rivers

CEO at AdInMo

Full disclosure: I am a total “Apple fanboi” - I used to work for Apple, my family and I are all totally and exclusively embedded in the Apple ecosystem… With that said, while I am thrilled by the technical vision of Apple's long-awaited announcement of the Vision Pro, I’m very underwhelmed as a consumer.

VisionPro is an incredible demonstration of a technological roadmap that promises a new era in our interaction with digital media. However, right now, as a product it's only an interesting tool for developers and creators, laying the groundwork for future visionOS-powered AR devices, and giving developers time to create a rich ecosystem of compelling apps and reasons to use the inevitable consumer-oriented device.

While the Vision Pro is technically impressive, this is not the ‘iPhone moment’ for AR. The Vision Pro is bulky, has crappy battery life (two hours? Really?!?!) and is cabled to a boring battery pack. It's also not priced for the average consumer. It’s telling that while all the presenters at the WWDC presentation wore Apple Watches, no one, not the product managers or even Tim Cook, were shown wearing and using a Vision Pro.

As an Apple fanboi, I really expected Apple to get it right the first time, and they missed. Think back to the iPhone, white Earpods, and the Apple Watch. These were all aspirational products that consumers wanted and wanted to be seen using.

I truly believe AR is the future of mobile consumer products. I love what's been happening with AR gaming already in the last few years and believe me, truly immersive ads in AR games will propel the format in advertisers minds and create new models for free to play.

Harry Lang

Harry Lang

VP of Marketing at Kwalee

Apple worships at the altar of Saint Steve of Jobs and that church was built on technological innovation, intuitive UI and beautiful simplicity in design. What they’ve launched here are some Avant-garde ski goggles with a giant TV squeezed inside. Also, it’s not a ‘Pro’ anything. Going back to 2006, Apple's product architecture dictates that their Pro models are enhanced versions of base hardware. The Vision Pro has been launched as a standalone - it isn’t an upgrade of anything.

It isn’t the iPhone moment for three reasons. The iPhone combined the needs of the masses with the benefits of technology to squeeze a phone, music player and portable computer into a single device. The Vision Pro is mixed reality hardware that will have to invent its own purpose over time. The Vision Pro is a prime example of function over benefit - it’s clever, sure, but despite having more cameras than the Big Brother house, it doesn’t answer many - if any - existing needs for a significant percentage of the population. And WTF is a ‘spatial computer’ anyway? The self-given name alone has serious ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ undertones.

Priced at $3,499 it’s a B2B play - or an impressive toy for Apple megafans. The potential market starts small and rapidly becomes infinitesimally tiny - the opposite of the iPhone at launch.

The Vision Pro is targeting working from home and watching films as primary use cases. You can play games on Apple Arcade, the Unity game engine is fully supported, plus there’s Bluetooth controller integration, paving the way for games capabilities to evolve as a Vision Pro extension, but it’s certainly not a games-centric AR/VR headset. For now…

Nicolas  Gilot

Nicolas Gilot

Founder & CEO at Ultra

The announcement of the Apple Vision Pro and the captivating footage showcasing its capabilities left tech enthusiasts like myself in awe. While the release date set for early 2024 may seem distant, it was a strategic move on Apple's part, providing developers with ample time to create apps tailored to the device's functionality. While it may not have sparked the same level of excitement as the revolutionary iPhone did years ago, it certainly captured widespread attention.

Seeing the price tag was no doubt a shock to many, myself included. Naturally, this caused many who watched the announcement to lose interest pretty quickly. Despite Apple not primarily focusing on games during its reveal, the Vision Pro presents a glimpse into the future of virtual reality gaming.

Apple's history as a pioneer in technology raises the bar for competitors in the VR space, inspiring them to develop headsets that can match or surpass its performance while potentially offering better affordability. Undoubtedly, the Vision Pro will entice developers to create games for it, ushering in a wave of new experiences for casual gamers. If the Vision Pro truly revolutionises the VR landscape, I’d expect to see numerous companies join the race, with price competitiveness being their initial target.

Nicholas  Coles

Nicholas Coles

Growth Marketing Manager at SuperScale

I believe that the Apple Vision Pro, and XR headsets in general, have the potential to revolutionise the way we watch - or in this case, engage - with entertainment. While the high $3,499 price initially grabbed headlines, this technology needs to be rigorously tested by keen early adopter audiences to enable true real world use cases, which can then be refined for the wider market in the years to come.

With its advanced AR/VR capabilities, it gives game developers a licence to produce even more engrossing and all-consuming content for players. The Apple Arcade tease, meanwhile, means the platform could be open to games built for other hardware, too. Compared to other platforms like desktop, console and mobile, the VR and AR headset space is comparatively very small right now. But Apple's entrance provides a very strong layer of credibility to the ecosystem, with the company renowned for its polished tech, which was certainly on show during its reveal.

It also potentially opens up the industry up to a bigger audience than currently exists, which is what the sector will need if it's to attract the world's biggest publishers to develop and release games for it. However, there's still years, if not decades, to go until mainstream customers use a headset as an everyday device.

Antoine Jullemier

Antoine Jullemier

VP, Gaming at Bidstack

The Vision Pro has the potential to unlock countless new opportunities for developers seeking to utilise AR and VR frameworks to develop highly immersive games. Initial industry feedback highlights the outstanding display resolution and exceptional lens clarity in particular, and the device looks more than capable of delivering an experience that redefines consumers’ perceptions around the viability of this emerging technology as a platform for gaming and entertainment.

With the support of Apple’s continuously growing gaming ecosystem, the device launch may also fuel a surge in lucrative exclusivity deals for innovative publishers. This could unlock significant new revenue opportunities and spark a notable shift in the wider gaming landscape, with console and rival VR providers forced to adapt to remain competitive. With reports of future Apple devices also having dedicated ‘gaming modes’, it’s clear that Apple is here for the long haul with games, and I’m personally excited to see what's on the horizon.

Rana Rahman

Rana Rahman

Founder & CEO at Raptor PR

Oculus ushered in a wave of excitement and hype around the promise of virtual reality when it began its crowdfunding campaign over a decade ago. Visions of Star Trek’s holodeck becoming a reality suddenly didn’t seem so farfetched, and VR headsets were finally just around the corner. While I love my VR headset, the current state of the market hasn’t really matched that hype. In fact, we’ve been in the throws of the trough of disillusionment - the lack of killer apps have dimmed the excitement. But Apple entering the space could change the dynamics.

It’s come in with typically polished hardware and interesting use-cases. Apple has played things very safe with the announcement: it’s avoided anything particularly controversial to consumers, completely avoiding the metaverse narrative that Meta has gone all-in on. Apple may have a metaverse roadmap, but no doubt it’ll rebrand it, much like it’s using spatial computing instead of virtual and augmented reality. The price is prohibitive as it stands, but in years to come, that could all change if Apple slashes the price for future hardware. Apple's move into the space is going to attract more publishers to invest more money into VR and AR, hopefully finally creating the killer apps this market needs. And I can’t wait to play them!

Ratko Bozovic

Ratko Bozovic

VP of Marketing at Sandsoft

During Apple's recent keynote, it became evident that gaming remains a significant focus for the company. Apple is now targeting gaming across three fronts: mobile devices, MacBooks, and the introduction of Vision Pro as an XR platform. The release of Apple Vision Pro could bring about a paradigm shift in the XR industry. Although some compromises have been made with the hardware, it was presented in Apple's signature, polished style. Apple's emphasis on being connected to the real world by integrating 2D panels within the user’s environment opens up possibilities for innovative games not seen on current VR devices. However, the high price indicates that mass adoption is still a few years away, which will be crucial in getting big developers on board.

The Vision Pro's current high price may hinder mass market adoption for now, but on the other hand, Apple has effectively launched a devkit for developers to play around with to see what experiences we can create for a brand new platform.

The possibilities of making all kinds of games, from 2D to 3D to fully immersive titles that we’ve yet to really think of with the new gesture controls, are exciting. I'm bullish about this market. However, I don't see VR becoming an equal competitor to the mobile, PC and console markets this decade. By then, developers will have got to grips with the technology, and there will hopefully be a diverse selection of games, along with improved technology and more affordable pricing. And let's not forget, killer apps are what will sell the hardware, and we've been waiting for one in the VR space for almost a decade.