The Vision Pro augmented reality device goes on sale Friday. Don’t expect Apple to host a splashy event to promote it.
When Apple released the Apple Watch in 2015, it was business as usual for a company whose iPhone updates had become cultural touchstones. Before the watch went on sale, Apple gave early versions of it to celebrities like Beyoncé, featured it in fashion publications like Vogue and streamed a splashy event on the internet trumpeting its features.
But as Apple prepared to sell its next generation of wearable computing, the Vision Pro augmented reality device, it marched far more quietly into the consumer marketplace.
The company said in a news release this month that sales of the device would begin Friday. No big product event was scheduled, though Apple has created a catchy commercial about the device and offered individual demonstrations of it to tech reviewers. And in a departure for the secretive company, the Vision Pro has been tested with more developers than past Apple products were to see what they like and don’t like about it.
The toning down of marketing tactics speaks to the challenges facing Apple, a company that has grown so large over the years that new product lines that could one day be worth billions are still a sliver of iPhone sales, which topped $200 billion last year.
Apple’s low-key approach to the Vision Pro also speaks to the challenges associated with selling a device that could still be years away from appealing to mainstream consumers. In addition to explaining what the Vision Pro can do — as it does with every new device — Apple must overcome its high price of $3,500, as well as muted interest in augmented reality gadgets that blend the digital and physical worlds. Another challenge: The three-dimensional experience provided by the device can really be understood only through demonstrations.
Apple’s solution is to take it slow and seed interest with developers who may build apps that work with the Vision Pro. The company is expected to pitch the device to more mainstream customers after it has lowered the price and improved the technology.