While WWDC 2023 showcased a number of crucial new products, the Apple Vision Pro was undeniably the star of the show. It's pretty quickly split opinions, with some showering glory on the technical innovation, while others scoff at the $3,499 retail price.
So far, I'm definitely in the first camp. Forget comparisons to all other VR headsets – that's not what Apple are going for here. Instead, the Vision Pro is like a new way to use a MacBook, with a few other cool features built-in.
And sure, it's a lot of money. But it's not disproportionate to other products in the Apple line. A 16-inch MacBook Pro will set you back more than two thirds of that price – and that's before you even think about upgrading any specs. By comparison – and when you factor in the other possibilities with the headset – I'd even argue that the Vision Pro is good value.
But that's not the full story. Users who require prescription lenses will need to add those into the equation. Apple has teamed up with Zeiss for those lenses, which magnetically attach to the headset to allow for the precise tracking to continue.
There's been no official word on how costly those might be – or indeed how wide a range of visual impairments they'll be available for. But we might have some indication, as popular Apple tipster, Mark Gurman, has taken a guess.
In a recent tweet, Gurman said, "I would guess that the Zeiss prescription lenses for the Vision Pro will be at least $300-600 a pair."
That's a fair chunk of change – particularly on top of the list price. The comment whipped other Twitter users into a frenzy, with one claiming it added "insult to a $3,500 injury."
It would certainly raise the barrier to entry for a large number of users. But, again, I don't think it's too out of line. A good pair of glasses could easily come to that sort of price. The justification for many is that you'll wear them all the time, but the design of the Vision Pro makes it a device you'll want to use for work and play, too.
As I said earlier, this isn't just any old VR headset. It won't be left in a drawer or on a nightstand until you fancy playing an immersive game, then go back there after. This is designed to be used all day as you're working, just as you would with a Mac. Then, in the evening, you could also use it to view immersive content.
If you're that kind of user, you may well end up wearing the headset more than your traditional glasses. And at that point, the price doesn't seem quite so scary.