Apple’s cheaper Vision Pro may come with one big drawback

The front visor of the Vision Pro on display at an Apple Store.
The front visor of the Vision Pro on display at an Apple Store.

One of the major issues with Apple’s Vision Pro is its price tag. Many folks aren’t willing or able to drop $3,499 on a device they’re not even sure they’re going to use regularly, while others feel more inclined to see if the tech company might follow through with a more affordable version.

Mark Gurman, a high-profile and generally reliable Apple tipster, wrote in his weekly Power On newsletter on Sunday that the Vision Pro team tasked with building a cheaper Vision Pro is struggling to reduce costs without ruining the experience of a cheaper mixed-reality headset, which Gurman suggests may launch at the end of 2025 at the earliest.

The more affordable Vision Pro headset could end up costing between $1,500 and $2,000, but Gurman said the team building it is facing some difficult trade-offs.

“Apple could strip out the EyeSight display — the feature that shows a user’s eyes on the outside — and reduce the specifications of the internal virtual reality screens,” Gurman suggests, adding that it could also use “a less powerful chip and lower the quality of the augmented reality passthrough visuals, which show you the real-world views outside the device.”

Apple is even believed to be considering a design that involves tethering the device to an iPhone or Mac to reduce processing power and component costs, but that would mean another cable to be wary of alongside the one connecting the Vision Pro’s battery pack. Eliminating the standalone element of the design may feel like one drawback too many for a lot of potential customers, but it might be the only way that Apple can effectively lower costs.

The main challenge for Apple engineers is retaining enough features to offer a compelling experience while also making it worth the $2,000 price tag. They must also keep in mind that there are plenty of mixed-reality headsets available now that cost considerably less.

Apple is also said to be developing a follow-up to its flagship Vision Pro headset, which launched in February, though Gurman believes an updated device is currently not so much of a priority and might not make it to market until the end of 2026 at the earliest.

Notably, the Tim Cook-led company is also reported to be once again looking into developing AR-only smart spectacles, though even greater challenges with the necessary technology mean they’re likely to still be many years from any kind of launch.