Demand for Apple's HoloLens-like Vision Pro has fallen 'well beyond' expectations. I am shocked. Not really.

Apple Vision Pro, cracked
(Image credit: Apple | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Nobody wants an Apple Vision Pro. 
  • That's it, basically. 

According a report via Mac Rumors, water is wet nobody wants to spend $3000 dollars to wear an Apple Mac computer on their head, even if it has holograms. 

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Cuo reports that Apple has reduced its orders for Vision Pro devices, after demand in the United States fell "sharply beyond expectations." Supposedly, Apple will use the humbling to approach sales in other regions a little less optimistically. Supposedly, Apple will unveil wider Vision Pro availability at this year's WWDC conference, where we could see the expensive hologrammatic paperweight hit Europe and other regions. Apple supposedly expects demand for the headset to only decline year-over-year too, which doesn't exactly paint a rosy picture for the nascent market. 

It seems that Apple learned nothing from Microsoft's failings with HoloLens, although Apple was arguably far better positioned to actually make something of its tech. Apple's mixed-reality headset offers full inside-out virtual landscapes, utilizing cameras that reproduce the external environment, overlaying holograms on top. Apple also enjoys far more consumer confidence in hardware than Microsoft most likely, yet it still couldn't make the use-case for this monstrosity make any sense. 

Instead of full inside-out virtualization, HoloLens used clever prisms and lenses to overlay Windows windows directly on top of the real world, complete with spatial anchoring. The downside of HoloLens was its "letterbox" effect, since the field of view was incredibly small. The upside was that the headset didn't make you feel like throwing up, unlike Apple's, which due to subtle latency differences between the real world and virtual world, creates a sea sickness-like affliction in many users. 

The Apple Vision Pro could end up being remembered as one of Apple's most high-profile hardware failures in recent years. 

Is mixed reality doomed?

Image of the XREAL Air 2 Pro.

The XREAL Air glasses are the only "metaverse" product that has ever made any sense to me.  (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Both Microsoft's HoloLens and Apple's Vision Pro suffer from the same central issue: nobody wants to wear a huge, ugly computer on their face. Literally nobody. Even people who claim to like wearing the Apple Vision Pro are lying to you, me, and everybody else — and most of all, themselves. The only place these types of devices have any potential is in business scenarios, where you wear the headsets for a specific purpose before removing them. Wearing them for any length of time is simply uncomfortable, throw paying thousands of dollars on top of it for the privilege and you make for a seriously dumb product.

At least you wouldn't have to sell a kidney to grab a Meta Quest or something like that. Meta even "opened up" its platform recently, allowing Microsoft to build its very own Xbox edition Meta Quest, although it won't really be anything different from a regular Meta Quest, besides coming pre-installed with Microsoft Office and Xbox Cloud Gaming, perhaps. 

The best augmented reality headset remains the sleek, sexy, and small XREAL Air glasses. Which as you might expect from my description there, are actually just glasses. Connected to your phone, laptop, or gaming handheld, the XREALs give you a personal HD cinema for gaming, media consumption, and beyond — without looking stupid. If any of these products are ever going to make sense, it's going to be in a small package like the XREALs, rather than some huge face-hugging thing like Apple's effort. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Kaymd
    Thanks for mentioning the fundamental issue with all the current AR/VR sets from Hololens to Quest, PSVR/2 and now Vision Pro - absolutely no one finds wearing a massive uncomfortable piece of tech on their face fun.
    It's as simple as that and unfortunately a human physical limitation. I don't even like always wearing headphones, let alone a whole VR headset. It'll always be a niche category.
  • John McIlhinney
    I think the story is pretty much always the same for VR and related technologies. People get all excited for it because of the wow factor, but then realise there's just not that much that they can do with it that's useful. I bought the Google VR headset to use with my phone - not the cardboard one but can't remember the name - and it was cool to experience something new but I hardly used it after that. Obviously Hololens and Vision Pro offer something more than that basic VR experience but it's very niche. Hololens was never even available to consumers and Apple said that Vision Pro wasn't for consumers either, but I reckon that Apple were quietly hoping that a significant number of consumers would buy it anyway because it's Apple. Maybe the Apple cult effect isn't quite as string as they thought.
  • PoorInRichfield
    Working in the tech industry for decades, I loathed the idea of having to spend my days with an ugly headset on, but figured it was inevitable. I'm glad I'm not the only one that has no interest in VR headsets for anything more than optional entertainment.