Apple's first mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, is definitely impressive from a technical standpoint. It reflects a carefully considered and thoughtful (albeit expensive) approach to AR/VR, and its operating system (visionOS) brings true innovation in the areas of input and interaction.
But no matter how engaging the basic experience is, apps can make or break hardware. And that's where the Vision Pro seems to struggle.
At launch, approximately 600 apps were developed specifically for Vision Pro. Certainly, it's not easy. But this initial library only scratches the surface of the apps available on Apple's other platforms, and more importantly includes glaring omissions like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify.
Currently, apps do not need to be natively developed for Vision Pro. The headset is backwards compatible with both iPadOS and iOS apps. However, existing apps do not take advantage of Vision Pro's more powerful and immersive features, and developers are free to opt out of compatibility with Vision Pro.
recently investigation Of 500 consumers, 81% said they were concerned that the lack of apps from major developers would detract from the content experience on Vision Pro. Of those who say they don't plan to buy Vision Pro this year, 39% cite a lack of interesting content and available apps as the main reason.
Part of the cause of app austerity is a sharp decline in funding for AR, VR, and “metaverse” software startups.
Investments in these themes such as AR, VR, and Metaverse will reach multi-year lows in 2023. according to Crunchbase, powered by plummet Sales of AR and VR headsets. The AR, VR, and Metaverse market peaked in 2022 with around $6 billion in funding in around 600 deals, before dropping to $2 billion in just 200 rounds.
Can Apple lead a turnaround? Some VCs think so and are putting their money where their mouth is.
Brad Harrison, founder and manager partner at early-stage VC firm Scout Ventures, recently invested in Taqtile, a Seattle-based company that works with enterprise customers to create AR-enhanced job training programs. Did. Taqtile is hardware agnostic, but is a partner in Apple's Enterprise Program, and Taqtile's platform, Manifest, works with Vision Pro.
“While the Vision Pro is a first-generation product and more expensive, the fact that it's on the Apple platform gives us a great distribution network for both sales and support through the Apple Store,” Harrison told TechCrunch in an email interview. told. “I think the fact that users can derive value right away because it’s inside Apple is important.” [ecosystem] This is the biggest potential opportunity for recruitment and real integration into the workplace. ”
In fact, Vision Pro may ultimately find a niche in the average consumer's workplace rather than their home.
In a note to analysts this week (via Apple Insider), Morgan Stanley declared Vision Pro “suitable for enterprise adoption,” particularly for uses such as virtual simulation, digital showrooms, remote training virtual marketing, and “remote break/fix in the field.” declared suitable for the case. Morgan Stanley wrote in a note that the company's opportunity “could be much larger than currently expected,” with Apple's headset business expected to have “modest” revenue of $4 billion a year in four years. We expect it to increase to US$.
Apple definitely recognizes enterprise applications, and this month it's incorporating Vision Pro into its Apple device management process, allowing IT teams to manage headsets in the same way they're used to handling iPhones, iPads, watches, and Macs. I did it like this. My colleague Ron Miller reports that Vision Pro will soon be adding business-friendly features like single sign-on, identity management, and security, making it an advantage for companies considering widespread adoption. .
“We believe that we have finally reached a tipping point in hardware availability, ease of use, and integration with existing platforms. . . . If there is demand, real AR-based businesses will grow. ” continued Mr. Harrison. “Scout was very bullish on the adoption of AR/VR because the combination of affordable and accessible hardware and his AI offers a huge opportunity to improve employee efficiency. Finally, we can see the true demand of our customers. [across] Multiple use case scenarios across training, maintenance, and education. ”
Charlie Ile, chief investment officer at Investible, an Asia-Pacific-focused venture capital fund, agrees with that assessment. Supported by Invesible in 2019 JigSpace is an interactive 3D presentation platform for creating AR demonstrations and product stories. JigSpace joined Vision Pro last week, a decision we wholeheartedly supported.
“After starting with multiple false [extended reality], I think it's different this time. ” He told TechCrunch: “Near-eye display and spatial video technologies are progressing toward broader adoption. Version 1 of the device may not be a huge commercial success, but it could solidify Apple's position as the next-generation hardware platform on which an ecosystem of developers can thrive. . . It is in Apple's DNA to rally developers around new products to provide consumers with an endless selection of applications. And over time, we believe Vision Pro's use cases and consumer relevance will become clearer. ”
I did not necessarily expect a critical opinion of Vision Pro from a VC whose portfolio is closely tied to Vision Pro.But I was surprised just How bullish they seemed to be about headsets and broader AR, VR, and Metaverse technologies.
I'm not sure I'm swayed by the rosiest of predictions – Some Analysts expect Apple is expected to sell nearly 500,000 Vision Pro units this year. But given the historical trajectory of AR/VR headsets, buy-in from companies is not an unreasonable bet.
Microsoft ended up making HoloLens, which coincidentally costs the same as the entry-level Vision Pro. company, is chasing a huge contract with the US military. A few years ago, Google followed the same strategy with Google Glass, moving away from the consumer version and bringing the technology to a decidedly wider range of business users.
Of course, this is very early days. Vision Pro was launched last week. And it's hard to know what that future holds.but For example, Ill has a lot of faith in Apple and the broader AR, VR, and Metaverse space.
“As early-stage VCs, it's our job to make bold bets on founders who are thinking and building at the cutting edge,” he said. “Early investment is essential for a healthy innovation ecosystem, and we have strong confidence in the future of spatial computing.”