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Hispider latest news Apple released the first MR headset or will replace the iPhone

Jun 06 , 2023

Priced at $3499! Apple's MR launched to open the era of "space computing": similar in appearance to ski goggles, built-in two chips

The much-anticipated Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC23) was held at 1:00 a.m. Beijing time on June 6, and Hispider watched the entire conference live. At the conference, Apple released a variety of hardware and software products: 15-inch version of MacBookAir, Mac Studio, and the direction of each software evolution, including iOS 17. Among them, the most attention is still the head-up display device.

After nearly seven years of project development, Apple finally unveiled its first mixed reality (MR) headset (also known as VR/AR headset). The mixed reality (MR) headset, named "Vision Pro," is similar in appearance to a ski goggle and can be controlled by the eyes, gestures and voice. Apple's first MR is aimed at developers, enterprises and high-end users, with a price tag of $3,499 (about $24,800), and the device is seen as Apple's first new computing platform developed entirely under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook.

Cook said, "Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computers and the iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Vision Pro will introduce us to spatial computing, which marks the beginning of a mileage." As the benchmark of consumer electronics, whether it is cell phones or computers, tablets or watches, Apple's products have brought great influence to the development of the industry. After Apple launched mixed reality devices for the first time this time, outsiders believe that the product is expected to become a phenomenal terminal after iPhone, iPad, etc., and will even reshape the Apple-led "post-smartphone "era.

Hispider is still concerned about this, however, given the current sluggish demand in the consumer electronics market, it remains to be seen whether the expensive Vision Pro can boost Apple's performance and drive the development of the AR/VR sector.

IDC China senior analyst Zhao Siquan believes that, as one of the most important new products in 2023, Apple's official entry will accelerate the evolution of AR/VR devices from entertainment tools to productivity tools.


Released a variety of new hardware and software

The first to debut at WWDC 2023 is the 15-inch MacBook Air, the largest MacBook Air in Apple's history, equipped with an M2 chip and a battery life of up to 18 hours, with a starting price of $1,299.

Against the backdrop of an overall downturn in the computer industry, Apple is working hard to adjust its Mac product line and attract the attention of consumers. The M2-equipped 13-inch MacBook Air will reportedly start at $100 less than before, to $1,099.

Photo credit: Vision China-VCG111372423056

On the software side, Apple iOS 17 supports a new customizable interface image for incoming calls, Facetime support for message video function, Messages support for short word search, and voice to text, location sharing, and a new Check In feature, which is a convenient, privacy-protecting location sharing feature. It can tell your friends and family where you are, keep an eye on whether you're home, whether you're driving according to your route, and other features.

In addition, iOS 17 also offers a new standby display experience. The iPhone is able to display the clock, weather and third-party widgets when placed sideways on standby, and also supports real-time displays, such as delivery times for takeaways.


Apple's first head-up display unveiled, priced at up to 24,800 yuan

Nearly an hour and a half into the keynote, the "one more thing" about the headset finally arrived.

IDC's "China AR/VR Headset Market Quarterly Tracking Report" shows that in the first quarter of 2023, China's AR/VR market shipped 173,000 units, down 37.6% year-on-year. Among them, the AR market shipped 22,000 units, up 35.7% year-on-year, and the VR market shipped 150,000 units (Tethered VR shipped 40,000 units and Standalone VR shipped 110,000 units), down 42.2% year-on-year. The overall decline in shipments in the first quarter was mainly affected by the head manufacturers' cost-cutting and efficiency strategies, continued weakness on the demand side of non-demanding consumer electronics products, and no new products to stimulate the market.

But now, with the release of "Vision Pro", it will bring positive signals to the whole AR/VR industry.

According to Apple, Vision Pro is an AR device, but it can also switch between augmented reality and full virtual reality (VR) through a knob. In terms of interaction, users do not need a handle and can use gesture movements and other motion methods to achieve input. The simplification of input methods can effectively reduce the threshold of use and improve the efficiency of interaction. And through the external display, the user can still interact with the people around them after wearing the headset.



Hispider was told that configuration-wise, Vision Pro is equipped with the M2 chip as well as the new R1 chip, which is mainly responsible for coping with real-time sensor processing technology, officially claiming that the transmission data can be touched in 12 milliseconds, which is faster than the blink of an eye. In addition, the headset features a new spatial operating system, vision OS, which allows users to interact with digital content in an immersive manner.

In terms of battery life, Apple uses a separate battery design with an external battery that provides 2 hours of life and can be connected via a "soft braided cable" so it can fit in your pocket when in use. Most of the mainstream Standalone VR currently on the market are equipped with fast-lcd screens, which have a gap between the ideal form in terms of display and power consumption. In terms of software and content ecology, Apple and Disney reached cooperation. In addition, Vision Pro can also collaborate with Bluetooth keyboard and headset, and the multitasking method can make users more efficient.


Cook said, "Vision Pro is built on decades of Apple innovation and is unlike anything that has come before - it has a revolutionary new input system."

In terms of price, the market's biggest concern, the Vision Pro headset is priced relatively high, retailing at $3,499, in line with Apple's historical pricing strategy. But the market is currently dominated by Meta's VR headsets, with the Quest line of VR devices accounting for more than 80 percent of the market by the end of 2022, according to Counterpoint. 2021 saw the famous social networking giant Facebook announce a name change to "Meta "(from "Metaverse") and made metaverse development the company's future focus, a move that has made "metaverse" one of the buzzwords since 2021.

Earlier this month, Hispider learned from Meta's official website that the Meta Quest 3, with higher resolution and enhanced performance, will be available in the fall of 2023, priced at $499.99 for 128GB. Previously, in October 2022, Meta released Quest Pro for professionals at $1,499, but recently, several products in the Meta series announced price reductions, including Quest Pro to $999.99, and the entry-level Meta Quest 2 from June 4, with prices dropping to $299.99 for 128GB and 256GB dropped to $349.99.

Meta outside, in recent years, including PICO, Sony, HTC, Huawei, OPPO and other manufacturers have also actively launched XR products, mainly AR glasses and VR headset all-in-one machine. In fact, more and more manufacturers are joining the competition in the market for new hardware platforms such as headset devices. The price of Apple's Vision Pro headset is almost three times the price of Meta's high-end headset Quest Pro, which is higher than the price of the top version of iPhone 14 series.

In the context of the current downturn in demand in the consumer electronics market, can the high price of Vision Pro boost Apple's performance and stand out in the competitive AR/VR field?


In this regard, IDC told Hispider that it is difficult to achieve explosive growth in shipments in the Chinese market in the short term due to Apple's new product release, but Apple will accelerate the evolution of AR/VR devices to productivity tools. "The overall decline in shipments in the first quarter was mainly affected by the head manufacturers' cost reduction and efficiency strategies, continued weakness on the demand side of non-rigid consumer electronics products, and no new product launches to stimulate the market. vision Pro is priced higher and mainly targets the high-end market, making it difficult to drive overall domestic market shipments with one product."

However, IDC believes that Vision Pro is positioned more than the past headset products, through the supporting ecology and additional hardware features to highlight the characteristics of productivity tools. At present, the domestic AR/VR ecological content is still dominated by the game experience, and there is still a gap between the development of office, meeting and other applications and overseas excellent applications. Some functions of this new product can play a positive role in office and health scenarios, and domestic developers will be more involved in the creation of related content, leading AR/VR hardware to gradually break through the inherent stereotype of the positioning of entertainment devices in the minds of mass consumers.

Related industry chain may welcome a new windfall
After the release of Apple Vision Pro, it is undoubtedly good for the related industry chain.

In February, Tianfeng International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said on a social media platform that PEGATRON is expected to transfer its AR/MR development team and production resources to Likai, a joint venture between PEGATRON and Lixin, in the first half of 2023. As Li-Chi is led by Lixin, it is equivalent to Lixin taking over the subsequent design and production of the product.

Ming-Chi Kuo believes that such a change will help accelerate the subsequent reduction in the cost of headset devices, which Apple is looking forward to seeing. He also expects that Apple's second-generation AR/MR will have two high- and low-tier models, with the high-tier and low-tier being developed and produced by LCL and Hon Hai respectively, and both models are expected to be launched in 2025.

In consumer electronics, Lixun Precision (002475.SZ, stock price 28.35 yuan, market value 202.147 billion yuan) is widely known for OEM Apple wireless headphones AirPods, iPhones. late May, Lixun Precision Chairman Wang Laichun told reporters at the shareholders' meeting that XR will not replace cell phones and computers in the next 15 years, and in the long run, it will definitely will replace, but it will take a long time.

"For future products of this cloud universe, I think the most critical thing is the integration ability of core arithmetic power and components. For Lixun, we have been focusing on brands that have the ability to provide high super arithmetic chips. In the product itself, the XR can be accepted by users in terms of both range and weight, and we are looking forward to the technology that is legendary online to bring a good experience to consumers, and we are always ready to have such an opportunity to not let it slip away." Wang Laichun said.

In addition to Lixun Precision, a number of other related companies in Apple's MR product supply chain will be affected.  SZ, share price 86.1 yuan, market capitalization 14.749 billion yuan) and other companies need continued attention.

On April 25, at the 2022 annual general meeting of Pengding Holdings, Shen Qingfang, chairman and CEO of the company, talking about the company's layout in the AR/VR field, had responded, "The company has been laying out for a long time, and the company has become an important supplier in this field through cooperation with leading global brand manufacturers."


IDC believes that consumer electronics terminal shipments such as smartphones are currently in a growth bottleneck, and terminal manufacturers are eager to explore new growth points in the new round of competition. after the release of Vision Pro, most of the domestic head terminal manufacturers will also launch new AR/VR products from the end of the year to 2024. At the same time, manufacturers without relevant track layout will also enter the market quickly. The multi-dimensional competition within the field of next-generation computing platforms by vendors will continue to intensify.

In addition, IDC also said that along with the active follow-up of domestic terminal manufacturers will jointly promote the optimization of the layout of the domestic AR/VR industry chain structure, while promoting the development and upgrade of the new display, battery and interactive parts. It is expected that in the next 2 to 3 years, as the product cost will be further compressed and the scale of component production will increase, the industry-wide average unit price will begin to decline.

Looking ahead to the annual VR/AR device shipments in 2023, TrendForce's research released in May shows that global VR and AR device shipments in 2023 totaled 7.45 million units, a decrease of 18.2%. Among them, VR declined the most, with shipments of about 6.67 million units, mainly because the sales of new high-end devices are not as expected, and subsequent brands will also shift their sales focus back to low-cost products; AR performance is flat, with shipments of about 780,000 units.

TrendForce believes that the VR and AR device market development process is limited from 2023 to 2025, low-cost entry VR products can attract general consumers to buy, but profitability is relatively limited, which reduces the brand's willingness to invest in the VR market in recent years, or shift the focus of research and development and time to AR devices and related applications, and the launch of the consumer market must wait for the majority of applications. It is expected that the VR and AR market will grow significantly in 2025, and the annual growth rate of shipments has the opportunity to approach 40%.

During the launch, Apple shares once rose more than 2%, but as of the close of trading fell slightly by 0.76% to $179.58, with a market value of $2.84 trillion.



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