Apple Might Take the HoloLens Route for Vision Pro and It’s a Definite Path to Failure


Apple just wrapped up its earnings call for the second fiscal quarter of 2024 and there were some interesting takeaways. First, the company has reported a revenue of $90.75 billion, crossing the expected mark by a whisker. Overall, the revenue fell 4.31% year-over-year. Besides financials, Apple also discussed its future prospects and the performance of the recently launched devices. Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, made an interesting comment about Vision Pro and it doesn’t look good on the company’s plans for its new category debutant.

Speaking at the earnings call, Cook said that Vision Pro has amazed users and the spatial computing magic has taken over people. However, he added that Apple is garnering more interest from enterprises and Apple would be keen to explore opportunities for spatial computing in the enterprise sector.

“We are seeing so many compelling use cases from aircraft engine maintenance training at KLM Airlines to real-time team collaboration for racing at Porsche to immersive kitchen design at Lowe’s. We couldn’t be more excited about the spatial computing opportunity in enterprise.” – Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Apple CEO speaking about exploring opportunities for spatial computing in enterprises doesn’t particularly bode well for Vision Pro. It seems that Apple is not sure about the target market for its spatial computer. The pivot from consumer-centric entertainment device to enterprise is something we have seen previously from AR devices like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap and it didn’t bode well for them.

Identity Crisis for Vision Pro?

Apple Vision Pro

Ever since Apple launched Vision Pro, the device has been facing an identity crisis. With the lack of apps and a well-defined use case, most people see it as a long-term replacement for the iPad. Apple’s confusing marketing for Vision Pro has added to its worst. At times, the company is seen defining Vision Pro as “the ultimate theatre” but the absence of native apps for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube is a major roadblock for the company.

As a computing device that pairs with your Mac, Vision Pro doesn’t support dual-display functionality. While there are third-party apps available to support two virtual displays, responsiveness is still an issue. On the productivity front, Vision Pro has a long way to go before it achieves the status of a Mac companion.

The spatial videos and photos feature is currently available only on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is again a barrier.

Vision Pro Enroute HoloLens Route?

Lately, we have seen Vision Pro find its place in the enterprise sector with use cases sprawling from Spatial apps for platforms to the medical industry. We have seen a similar trajectory from Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens but both devices failed to get the expected traction.

HoloLens has been a spectacular failure and the reason behind it was it failed to find its place in the newly emerging MR market at the time when it was launched. Microsoft soft launched several iterations of HoloLens including HoloLens 2 Development Edition in 2020 and HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition in 2021. Despite the efforts, Microsoft never really positioned it in its core business and they failed to decide whether it is a consumer-oriented product or meant for enterprises. It failed on both fronts.

Similar to HoloLens, Magic Leap also pivoted from consumers to enterprises after failing to get the attention it expected. At the moment, Magic Leap is barely surviving and it recently received half-billion dollars from Saudi Arabia to boost its business.

In short, the business from consumer to business has never flourished if past examples are to be relied upon.

Will Apple be able to penetrate the enterprise market? Well, it depends on whether Apple wants it to be an enterprise-focused product. As per Tim Cook’s comments, Apple might pivot.

At the moment, the $3,500 Vision Pro has failed to find a niche for itself. According to a recent report, Apple is facing a sharp decline in the demand for Vision Pro.

Things could improve with the launch of Vision Pro in non-US markets. The MR device is confirmed to launch in China next and other international markets might follow soon.

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