Enter augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), 2023 is poised to be the year that writes the future of these immersive technologies. It's a year marked by pivotal moments, with tech giants like Apple making their grand entrance into the world of AR and VR. During the WWDC event in June, Apple unveiled the Vision Pro, a product that has stirred both excitement and anticipation.
The Vision Pro is quintessentially Apple—bold, meticulously designed, and accompanied by high expectations and a premium price tag. The tech community had been eagerly awaiting Apple's foray into AR and VR, and this unveiling signaled the company's intention to make its mark in this space.
Apple's entry into the AR/VR arena has not only turned heads but also intensified the competition. Magic Leap, for instance, gained significant media attention in the wake of Apple's announcement. Meanwhile, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, found itself under a microscope during its recent Connect event as industry observers closely monitored how it would respond to Apple's challenge.
However, the roadmaps of tech companies are not determined solely by their competitors' moves. While the Vision Pro announcement may have influenced some aspects of the industry, it's important to note that Meta, in its previous avatar as Oculus, has been a player in this space for a decade. Over the years, it has charted its own course, evolving and refining its offerings.
The Vision Pro, with its $3,500 price tag, stands as a high-end AR/VR device, placing it at the upper echelon of the market in terms of cost. In stark contrast, the Meta Quest 3 retails at $500, making it a far more accessible option for consumers. Mark Zuckerberg referred to the Quest 3 as "the first mainstream headset with high-res color mixed reality." This price disparity reflects the distinct target audiences of these products.
Zuckerberg's statement underscores a crucial aspect of this industry: audience segmentation. While there's no strict definition of "mainstream" in this context, the Quest 3's affordability positions it as an attractive choice for a broader range of consumers. On the other hand, the Vision Pro caters to a more niche, high-end market.
Market perception plays a significant role in shaping the strategies of AR/VR companies. For instance, Magic Leap shifted its focus to the enterprise sector in response to the high cost of its hardware. Convincing businesses that investing in AR can yield substantial savings in training costs became a compelling argument.
Meta, too, has ventured into the enterprise market with the Quest Pro, while maintaining the Quest 3's emphasis on entertainment. The Quest 3's price point makes it an enticing proposition for consumers who seek entertainment-first AR/VR experiences.