The Apple Vision Pro will take a long time before it becomes a significant part of Apple's business, a report reasons, with the headset business far from reaching iPad sales levels.
Expectations for initial sales of the Apple Vision Pro are low, with claims Apple has cut down its initial orders for the headset due to difficulties in producing it, alongside general complaints about cost. This may not necessarily be a big issue for Apple, as a report insists that it would take a long time for the headset arm to majorly impact Apple's business anyway.
Writing in Bloomberg's "Power On" newsletter on Sunday, Mark Gurman compares the growth of different arms of Apple's empire, and reasons that the Vision Pro could be glacial in its growth in comparison.
The iPhone and iPad were "significant revenue contributors nearly instantly," Gurman writes, with the original iPhone thwarting concerns over pricing by selling a million units in fewer than three months, and generating a third of Apple's overall revenue by 2009. The iPad managed 18% of total sales revenue one year after its debut.
The Apple Watch was a lot slower to take off, but has become "an important part of the business," Gurman believes. While Apple hasn't broken out Apple Watch sales to its own category like the iPhone and iPad, it's still part of the Wearables, Home, and Accessories segment that brings in about $40 billion a year.
For the Apple Vision Pro, Gurman reasons that the very limited release schedule puts it on a much slower sales trajectory than the Apple Watch. Where the Apple Watch launched in nine countries for $349, the Apple Vision Pro will do so at ten times the cost and only in the United States.
Expansion into other countries for the Apple Vision Pro won't happen for months after its early 2024 launch, and probably won't hit resellers until 2025.
Culture and finances
Gurman also reaches into history for his comparison, pointing out that society had grown accustomed to wrist watches for 200 years, so a fitness tracker or smartwatch is trivial to adopt. A heavy headset that requires a separate external battery and needs to be worn on their face poses a challenge since there have not been literal centuries of similar products on the market.
Breaking down the finances, Gurman says the original first-year goals of Apple from a few years ago would have entered the "high single-digit millions," which soon became up to 4 million, then 1 million. Current first-year sales projections are at between 400,000 and 500,000 units.
At a $3,700 average selling price for the headset and extras like prescription lenses, Apple hitting the low-end estimate would equate to first-year earnings of about $1.5 billion. To reach the level of the iPad, Gurman believes the headset would need to grow by 20 times and reach approximately 8 million units per year.
Despite the prospect of a cheaper model, reaching iPad levels of revenue is "all but impossible in the foreseeable future." Even with the release of a cheaper model on the cards, Gurman reckons most people will stick with the "safer pick" of a Mac or iPad, at least until Apple comes out with a version closer to a pair of glasses.
The notion of the Apple Vision Pro being a slow-burner for the company isn't new, as it has been discussed in the past as being more of a long-play for the company.
AppleInsider has previously written about how the initial headset clearly isn't "for everybody," and that it is an aspirational product that is intended to convince a wider consumer base that they may want to use it, or a future iteration, down the road.
Coupled with the march of technology making things smaller, faster, cheaper, and generally better, as well as Apple having bountiful resources and cash to play the waiting game, no-one can really expect Apple's headset project to become an iPhone-level seller off the bat.