Virtual Reality (VR) Mixed Reality VR Headset

How to cultivate the right headspace for Apple’s Vision Pro headset

By Robin Sho Moser, Head of Web3 and Metaverse, DACH

EPAM Continuum


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June 7, 2023 | 8 min read

Apple’s much-talked-about Vision Pro headset is not yet a reality. But what can we expect after yesterday’s announcement? Robin Sho Moser of EPAM Continuum investigates.

Apple's new Vision Pro headset

Should brands be preparing right away for the potential of Apple’s new Vision Pro headset? / Apple

At its core, Apple is a creator of profoundly human-centered products. It has a winning track record not of being the first to enter a market, but rather perfecting products that are already available.

By not rushing to be first but working diligently behind the scenes and waiting a couple of cycles for the hardware to mature, Apple is able to deliver a superior experience and it’s applying this approach to the newly announced Apple Vision Pro headset.

Apple already has an established hardware ecosystem in our homes and pockets. With this highly interconnected device, Apple gains a significant advantage and head start in the virtual reality space.

The ecosystem means that many consumers trust Apple. When an Apple device is released, it provides a meaningful context for people who already own an iPhone. People who have a phone will be able to communicate with someone who has a headset.

The ecosystem allows consumers to onboard quickly, and it allows Apple to extract value. But if the device fails to provide sufficient value, consumers will question whether it's worth investing in.

Let’s consider the leading headset, Meta’s Oculus. Meta recently announced the next generation of the Oculus Quest, the Oculus Quest 3, five days ahead of Apple’s developer conference. There are about 20m of these devices out there. This seems like a significant number, but compared to the mobile devices that are being used every day, it’s quite small; it’s about a month’s worth of iPhone sales. Apple’s main challenge will be to create a network effect and deliver value from the moment the headset is introduced.

Spatial computing will enable new branded experiences and work environments

According to my colleague Jie Li, EPAM Continuum’s head of research and insights in the Netherlands, the consumer market for VR headsets is still mostly dominated by games. “I haven’t seen a killer application yet, but two popular games, Beat Saber and The Under Presents, have managed to entice consumers to buy the Oculus headset.”

There’s a less captivating but more scalable element to consider: significant potential for the Vision Pro in professional and medical contexts. My colleague Li says that Apple will focus on professional users to attract developers and content creators as the primary audience: 3D content creators and industrial designers specializing in 3D modeling or architecture will be able to seamlessly switch between MacBook and Vision Pro screens, zoom in on and rotate 3D content that appears to be floating in the real physical space.

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There are also potential applications in medical education, where students may be able to learn anatomy in 3D. In work environments, team members from different locations may be able to work simultaneously through a wide array of applications, making meetings more productive and collaborative.

Elsewhere, imagine uses in high-end retail experiences: picture walking into a car showroom, being handed the device, and seeing a physical model of the car overlaid with descriptions and augmented information.

And the headset could create more realistic and immersive remote customer experiences. Picture yourself sitting at home, wearing the headset, and being visited by a Louis Vuitton expert from the other side of the world while browsing their website. That person can show a bag in front of an iPhone, which has a lot of depth sensors already embedded. It could render, right in front of you, a very realistic bag.

The consumer market for the headset will grow when the device is more mature. Reports suggest that Apple expects to sell 1m units in its first year. While this might seem low, all of Apple’s major innovations, like the iPhone and Apple Watch, have seen a similar trajectory; low sales to the savviest users then create appeal to the masses.

Brands must stay ahead in the Apple device game

Do brands need to invest in Apple-specific technologies, right now? Would it be wrong to follow Apple’s lead and wait?

Yes, and yes. Right now, there’s a limited time window for exploration, learning, and development. Remember when companies once naively asked: ‘Why should we start an e-commerce business? Our retail business is doing fine.’ Or, ‘We have a good, working website; why should we start optimizing for mobile?’

If you look at Apple Vision Pro in the context of the evolution of technology and how people live their lives, it’s not a matter of ‘When should I?’ or ‘Why should I?’ but ‘I need to get ahead of this while I still can.’

Don’t go it alone

Getting ahead is not easy. Brands need partners to properly prepare for what the Vision Pro headset will do. They need to work with those who have deep, integrated expertise, whether it’s knowing the Apple ecosystem inside out, having a great understanding of Apple’s design principles, or understanding human-computer interaction.

Virtual Reality (VR) Mixed Reality VR Headset

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EPAM Continuum

Our diverse, integrated consulting teams apply a Systems Thinking mindset to get to the heart of our clients’ increasingly complex business challenges.


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