According to the latest rumors, Apple will unveil its first AR/VR headset in three months at WWDC. Current players in the mixed reality headset industry are prepping for Apple’s entrance into the space, including HTC CEO and co-founder Cher Wang.
In an interview with CNBC, Wang said that she believes Apple will unveil its mixed reality headset “very soon,” sometime “middle or later this year.” Despite the added competition, however, Wang said that she views Apple’s entrance as an indication the AR/VR headset market has reached a certain threshold of size.
“Apple is always more cautious. I think the market is now big enough that they probably will enter,” Wang said. “It’s really proven that our direction is correct. Competition is always good.”
After once being a leader in smartphones, HTC has pivoted its focus to AR/VR headsets with its Vive lineup of products. Data from Counterpoint Research, cited by CNBC, suggests that HTC shipped around 100,000 mixed reality products in Q2 2022, up from 40,000 in Q1 2021.
We’ll have to check back in a couple of years and see how the AR/VR market has taken shape after Apple’s foray. Still, I’m hesitant anytime a company openly welcomes competition from Apple into what’s a relatively small product category.
Meta, meanwhile, recently announced major price changes for its Quest 2 and Quest Pro VR headsets, with the former dropping from $489 to $429 and the latter dropping from $1,499 to $999. These price changes come as Meta’s Reality Labs division lost a whopping $13.7 billion in 2022.
Whether or not Meta’s price changes are in response to the looming threat of Apple’s headset is unknown. Apple’s headset could be priced as high as $3,000, so even without the price cuts, Meta’s hardware is just a fraction of the cost of Apple’s.
What do you think of the competition within the AR/VR headset world? Will Meta and HTC benefit from Apple’s competition? Let us know in the comments.
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