Apple AR headset may require monthly software subscription, claims researchers

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Based on how current popular AR headsets are priced, Trendforce analysts predict that the forthcoming Apple AR device will come with a monthly subscription.

Apple's first AR headset has consistently been predicted to cost $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000. For the first time, though, Trendforce analysts are now speculating that it will require an additional monthly subscription.

According to Trendforce, currently the "commercial market is dominated" by the HoloLens 2. The company expects that, "strong shipments" of Oculus and Microsoft devices "will likely force Apple to release relevant products to join the competition this year."

"However... considering hardware performance requirements and gross profit margins, Apple will likely target the commercial market and adopt the same pricing strategy as HoloLens," continues the report.

Trendforce expects "hardware priced in the thousands of dollars." It also predicts "a monthly subscription-based software solution" on top of that.

Currently, the HoloLens 2 hardware is sold by Microsoft as a one-time purchase. At times other firms are either leasing it, or purchasing on an installment plan.

There are subscriptions involving HoloLens 2, but they appear to be solely for third-party apps. Since any AR or VR headset will require apps, Trendforce appears to be assuming Apple itself will follow third-party HoloLens 2 developers in charging an app subscription.

HoloLens 2 is marketed at industry and commercial users. Although Apple is known more for consumer devices, other previous rumors have said its first AR/VR headset will be aimed at businesses.