Apple Thinking About the Next Decade & Beyond with Vision Pro Announcement

  • Apple announced Vision Pro at the June 5 WWDC with a launch price of $3,499.
  • It will be released early next year starting with the US, the biggest XR headset market with over 70% share in 2022.
  • Featuring advanced specs and a sleek design, it has enterprise, gaming, content and connectivity use cases.
  • However, with a price of 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, it is unlikely to ship over half a million units in its first year.

Apple made its long-anticipated foray into the extended reality (XR) market with the announcement of a $3,499 headset, Vision Pro, at this year’s WWDC on June 5. While Apple is calling it an augmented reality (AR) headset, it is effectively a mixed reality headset based on video pass-through, although done better than anyone else. This is an important step forward for the technology which may eventually replace smartphones, personal computers and televisions.

Apple’s short-term and long-term prospects

With such high expectations, Apple’s stock reached an all-time high before the announcement but fell during the keynote address. This shift in investor stance reflects the challenges that complicate this opportunity.

Apple has also not jumped on to the AI bandwagon so far as it is not its core strength but may yield dividends in the nearer term, thus influencing investor perception of the stock’s attractiveness.

Given primarily the hefty price tag, which is 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, the first iteration of the headset is unlikely to sell more than half a million units in the first year of availability. Investors’ reaction also reflects this. Apple’s concern, however, is not the day’s stock movement but the next decade and beyond of technological evolution – about a post-smartphone future and how to secure it.

WATCH:Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features

Cutting-edge technology and Apple premium explain the price tag

In order to secure this long-term future, after eight years of work and 5,000 patents, Apple has announced what it describes as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever”. It features Apple’s powerful M2 processor with its custom R1 co-processor that helps manage the computational load from multiple cameras and other sensors in the spatial computing device.

Apple's M2 processor and R1 co-processor

Its two microOLED displays offer an unrivalled viewing experience with more than a 4K-per-eye resolution. So far, only tethered VR devices by Czech-based VRGineers and China-based Pimax have offered headsets with 4K display but in LCD.

Apple Vision Pro Headset

The Vision Pro also takes the industry forward with an immersive audio experience enabled by two amplified drivers in audio pods next to each ear.

In demos, Apple employees scanned reviewers’ ears and their surroundings to calibrate spatial audio, besides scanning their faces for Face ID.

The device uses advanced scanning to personalize the experience. Facial scanning is done to create a representation of the user’s face. This is used in, for example, virtual conferencing. Eye movements and facial expressions are rendered faithfully. The device also scans the environment to optimize the audio settings to deliver accurate spatial audio.

With an external battery pack, Vision Pro is just shy of being completely self-sufficient

The headset does not come with controllers as it uses advanced eye, voice and gesture tracking through 12 cameras, 6 microphones and 5 sensors.

An external battery pack, however, prevents the device from being completely standalone despite featuring multiple integrated chipsets which enable autonomous computing. A two-hour battery life, then, is disappointing.

Apple vision pro headset

Developer kits and six months to create apps for wide-ranging use cases

The gestation period of six months before the headset is available for purchase in early 2024 in the US will enable developers to build, iterate and test apps on the headset. They carry a heavy weight of expectations to update existing apps for the spatial environment and to create killer new apps offering use cases for both consumers as well as enterprises on Apple’s all-new VisionOS platform.

Scale and size to allow Apple to forge partnerships critical for the technology’s success

The partnerships, such as those Apple has struck with Disney, Unity and Zeiss, are also key to ensuring the success of Vision Pro, and indeed the technology in general, especially in the early days when buyers may need every push to try out a technology with which few are familiar.

Meta has tried this for its enterprise-grade headset, the 2022-launched Quest Pro, with indeterminate although likely unremarkable outcomes. Apple’s advantage lies in its ability to entice a whole host of firms, including Hollywood studios, to create custom content for its headset.

Concerns and challenges that may obstruct Apple’s path to spatial success

Vision Pro is clearly only an early step in what is going to be a long journey before face-worn computers become mainstream. There are several obstacles that obstruct this path and will need to be overcome to realize such a future.

Form factor

While Apple’s ski goggle-like design is sleek and attractive, widespread acceptance can be attained by compressing similar compute in a compact eye-worn glass-like design.


The headset offloads some of its weight to an external battery pack but is still described by reviewers as being hefty. For a headset to become mainstream, it will need to be lightweight enough to be comfortably worn for extended periods.


Eventually, the battery needs to be integrated with the main headset while concurrently reducing its weight. Besides, the battery life will also need to be increased to at least 8-10 hours before headsets can come close to becoming integral parts of our daily lives.


In this regard, Apple has already taken steps to allay concerns by ensuring that consumer data is protected, and in some cases, not even accessible to Apple. With its current headset looking clearly like a tech device and unlikely to be used for extended periods in public, Apple has also dodged one of the bullets that killed Google Glasses – the fear of headset users breaching the privacy of unsuspecting passersby. However, as Apple’s headset becomes sleeker, these concerns will have to be addressed.

Apple’s success will be the industry’s gain

Regardless of these challenges, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the segment has already generated an upswing in consumer interest towards XR hardware that perhaps even Facebook’s name change to Meta did not. This interest is likely to translate into increased sales of headsets of all types. For those unable to afford Apple’s prices, or unwilling to wait long enough for it to become available for sale (especially outside of the US), rival headsets will be good alternatives to try out the tech.

So, even if the launch of what Apple described as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever” may not be an iPhone moment, it is a positive step and will take the industry forward.

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Quest 3 to Help Maintain Meta’s XR Dominance Even as Apple Entry Looms

  • Meta announced the launch of the Quest 3 headset on June 1. To be retailed at just under $500, it will be released in autumn. The Quest 3 will have both VR and MR capabilities.
  • The Quest 2 has also received a $100 price cut, with the entry-level variant available at $299 starting June 4.
  • Together with its newly discounted predecessor, the Quest 3 is expected to help the company maintain market dominance for now.
  • Meta’s announcement came days ahead of WWDC, where Apple will reportedly announce its own MR headset.

London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – June 5, 2023

The announcement of Meta’s Quest 3 headset at $499.99 and the Quest 2’s $100 price cut to $299 just before the rumoured launch of Apple’s first mixed reality (MR) headset shows the social media parent’s determination to lead the extended reality (XR) headset market.

Meta described the Quest 3, which will have both VR and MR capabilities, as its “most powerful headset yet”. The announcement of a successor to the best-selling XR model in history after three years of no consumer-grade headset launches by Meta is an important step forward for the company as well as for the industry.

In line with the season’s flavour, mixed reality, the Quest 3 features the next generation of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and yet to be disclosed but likely superior display resolution, memory, battery life and weight.

The Quest 3’s launch in autumn, together with the price cut of the Quest 2, will be enough to maintain Meta’s market dominance in terms of shipments for the foreseeable future.

Meta XR dominating the market

Apple’s expected announcement of a $3,000 MR headset during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5 will create the biggest challenge to Meta since its entry into the segment through the acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014. If Apple succeeds in bringing the cost down and gaining a foothold in the market through successive iterations of the $3,000 headset, it may supplant Meta as the biggest revenue generator in the market which Meta has dominated thus far both in terms of revenue and shipments.



Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

Analyst Contacts

Harmeet Singh Walia

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Meta's New Quest Pro: More Attractive to Enterprises Than Gamers

  • Meta announced its Meta Quest Pro mixed reality headset at a price of $1,500
  • This was around double the price of market expectations pre-announcement
  • Because of this, it could be a hard sell to Quest 2 upgraders and new consumers alike
  • To justify pricing, the Pro packs more features, better components and is sleeker
  • The display is upgraded, but we’re expecting better ones from Apple and Sony next year
  • Recent partnerships with Microsoft, Zoom and Accenture signal enterprise expansion, where pricing may be less of a concern

London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – October 12, 2022

As expected, Meta launched Meta Quest Pro at Meta Connect 2022. It will be available from October 25, however the Quest Pro’s $1499 price tag is significantly higher than the $700-$800 price band which was expected before the launch event.

Given one of the major catalysts of Quest 2’s success was its low price which complemented respectable if not impressive features, and content, the $1,500 price of Quest Pro will be a hard sell to Meta’s many previous customers, many of whom may continue to prefer Quest 2.

With these users having spent $1.5 billion on games and apps alone on the Quest Store, Meta certainly hopes to attract some of them to the Quest Pro too. This can be seen, for instance, through Meta working with Microsoft to bring xCloud gaming to the Quest Pro.

Commenting on the features Meta offers with increased ASP, Senior Analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said, “To justify the steep price, the Quest Pro packs more features as well as a sleeker design than Quest 2 (its optic stack is 40% slimmer). It has 10 advanced VR/MR sensors, spatial audio, pancake lenses, 256GB storage, 12GB RAM, and a new Snapdragon XR2+ processor. The Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers that accompany it have three cameras and Snapdragon 662 mobile processors. It also has a better display than the Quest 2’s, although, LCD displays (even if with 37% more PPI and 75% more contrast than Quest 2) may not signal value for money to users who will likely find superior displays in Apple’s upcoming MR device or Sony’s much cheaper PlayStation VR2.

This may not matter too much because given its recent partnerships with Microsoft, Zoom and Accenture, Meta has taken a definite direction towards gaining more traction with enterprise users. It hopes to combine its hardware and software with Microsoft’s technology (bringing Teams to Quest Horizon workrooms for Teams) to help bring VR to business and industry with Accenture, which has deep connections with Fortune 500 companies. Also having already bought 60,000 Quest 2 devices for its workforce which stands at a total of 700,000, the potential of its own and direct contribution to Quest sales is significant.”

Vice President of Research Peter Richardson added, “With Quest Pro, Meta has also taken a step into MR and closer to AR which it hopes to develop further after having introduced so-called smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban last year.

Quest Pro is significant then, because it signals Meta understands that the real value add in the XR market is likely found in the enterprise for now, rather than consumer users.”

Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

 Harmeet Singh Walia

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Karn Chauhan

 Twitter Logo - PNG and Vector - Logo Download  

Peter Richardson

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Follow Counterpoint Research

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Oculus Quest 2 Review – The Quest for Perfection Continues

Oculus launched the second generation Quest standalone VR device, Quest 2, on September 16th. Its price is attractive, starting at $299 for the 64GB model ($399 for the 256GB version). The product finally shipped on October 13th. I (and especially my two boys) have been trying the Oculus Quest 2 for a few weeks and here is the review.

Full disclosure up-front, I have been a VR skeptic. Not because I don’t ‘get’ the concept of VR, I do, but I struggle to see how it fits into the current technology landscape beyond a variation on gaming and for valuable, but niche, industrial and enterprise use cases. I have been waiting for the day I can start recommending VR to friends, family, and business users for a whole range of use cases. Many years ago, I read Ready Player One and loved the alternate world concepts that author Ernest Cline brought vividly to life. So, does the Oculus Quest 2 change my level of skepticism and make me believe that we’re on the verge of a new dawn of VR growth? Hmm, no, not yet, but it does move the game forward quite substantially.

First Impressions – Pixels in the Frame

While I was not expecting any miraculous improvement in optical quality over the previous generation devices, the resolution is still disappointing. When deeply involved in a game, you tend not to notice, but when using the inbuilt browser to watch YouTube videos, for example, the pixel net is clearly visible; and fine details are lost in the haze of low-resolution imaging. Netflix is available as an Oculus app but you’d have to be crazy to watch a movie in such low resolution.

In a world where pixels have become almost invisible – on the screen of the PC that I am typing this on, my smartphone display, even my seven-year-old TV – it’s almost impossible to see the pixels…unless you put a magnifying glass to the display and get really close to it. That’s effectively what happens with VR headsets. The Quest 2 is objectively better than the previous generation Quest, and other standalone headsets I’ve tried, but don’t expect true immersive reality. If you want to get some idea what it’s like, try watching a YouTube video on a large PC display at 240p resolution. High-definition it is not.

The only VR headset where I’ve not been acutely aware of the pixel net has been the Varjo VR- and XR-series devices. However, these are powerful PC-driven devices, optimized for enterprise use and that cost thousands of dollars.

Display – Greys, Flares, and Faster Refresh 

While the resolution of the display has improved over the first generation Quest (see table below), Oculus has opted for an LCD panel rather than the OLED used in the first-generation model. This means that blacks are less, well, black, and more of a grey. Again, in gameplay situations, it’s not that big of a deal, but you do notice the general grey-ish hue.

The Fresnel lenses are the same as on the first-gen Quest. They work quite well, but you do notice some flaring and fringing around the edges of bright points. This is likely impossible to avoid while using Fresnel lenses. Again, it’s not too much of an issue in the gameplay, but it adds to the overall sense of relatively low optical quality. Some might say I’m being harsh, but I’m just saying it how it is. In a high-definition world, it is unusual to experience low-definition, unless something is wrong somewhere.

Oculus has improved the frame rate from 72Hz to 90Hz. However, for now, this is experimental and only applies to very limited situations such as the main menu area. Currently, it has to be enabled in settings, which necessitates a restart. This will become standard out-of-the-box at some point and Oculus has promised that more and more content will be rolled out that will take advantage of the faster frame rate, but it’s unclear exactly when this will occur. And as games and other content are modified to take advantage of the higher refresh rates, any content that is already downloaded will need to be updated.

Counterpoint Research Oculus Quest 2 Specifications

IPD – Three Chances to Get it Right

Setting the inter-pupillary distance (IPD) is important for a good VR experience. If incorrectly set it can be a factor in causing motion-sickness. Where the original Quest offered continuous IPD adjustment between 58-72mm, Quest 2 has three pre-set distances at 58mm, 63mm, and 68mm. There is little guidance to help you get it set correctly, which seems a bit odd considering its importance. And the adjustment is done by manually pulling the lenses apart. There’s a small indicator with the numbers 1, 2, or 3, corresponding with the various positions. If your IPD falls outside of the upper and lower limits, too bad. But also if your optimum position is between any of the presets, well, that’s too bad as well. Fortunately, for me, the middle setting is about right, while for my sons and my wife, the narrower, position 1, seems to work okay.

Head-Strap Hassle

The head strap is a flimsy elastic item that doesn’t do a great job of distributing weight comfortably. It is tricky to adjust, but needs adjusting every time the headset is put on. The Premium head strap is better, but costs an additional $49 (a strap with an additional battery is also available but costs $129) the premium strap is likely better, unless you wear glasses, when it can be difficult to get the headset on without smudging or squashing your glasses. Incidentally, for glasses wearers, the standard pack includes a small spacer to improve the fit. The headset is around 70g lighter than the original Quest, but we think most of the reduced weight comes from the flimsier strap, so the weight as experienced by the user is not much different.

Sound emanates from the harder portion of the strap next to the ears. It’s adequate for most purposes but suffers a lot a sound leakage. For a more immersive experience, there is a 3.5mm jack socket into which wired headphones can be plugged. A Bluetooth option would have been good as fewer and fewer wired headsets are available.

Controllers – Hands-on

The hand controllers are decent with halo style loops that include IR beacons for hand tracking. They are slippery to hold though and need the string loops to secure them to a wrist; should one escape your grasp during vigorous gameplay, it won’t fly across the room. Some reviewers have complained of relative inaccuracy in tracking the controller’s movements. I have not noticed anything unusual, but I may not be sensitive to the small degrees of variation others have reported. Each controller is powered by a single AA battery. I don’t know how long they last, but as both controllers are still showing 100%, I am guessing it could be quite a while.

XR2 in the driving seat

The Quest 2 brings many improvements in hardware over the original device. Quest 2 is the first device to ship with Qualcomm’s application-specific Snapdragon XR2 platform – the original Quest was based on the Snapdragon 835, which was already around a year old when the first Quest device was launched.

While the XR2 was positioned by Qualcomm as 5G-ready, the Quest 2 has no cellular connectivity option – only WiFi. However, it does benefit from enhanced graphics, resolution, and AI performance. The XR2 can support up to seven concurrent camera feeds and a dedicated computer vision processor. The platform also supports low-latency video pass-through. This can be appreciated particularly when setting up a gameplay area. With the headset on, the user is asked to mark out an area in which gameplay can take place. This is done by using one of the controllers to ‘paint’ the edge of the game area. This is much better than IR beacons. The headset ‘remembers’ several gameplay areas and will also ‘see’ if an object is obstructing some part of the gameplay area and highlight it for moving out of the way. The video pass-through is shown in stark monochrome, but it’s surprisingly effective.

Set-up and Getting the Action Started – Face it, you need Facebook

The initial set-up was easy. You start by downloading an app to a partner smartphone. Then identify the particular headset (Oculus Quest 2), enter a code from the headset, and follow the set-up instructions. It takes a few minutes and you’re ready to go. However, it should be noted that it’s impossible to get started without a partner smartphone. And it’s impossible to get started without a Facebook account. This last point seems minor – but it’s not. There are many gamers for whom Facebook is anathema and the shift of all Oculus properties to being linked to a Facebook account therefore renders all Oculus products beyond redemption. Facebook is held in such suspicion that many potential users swear they will never use Oculus products…ever. Facebook’s interest in Oculus and VR is beyond the scope of this review. We will discuss it in a separate research report.

Main Menu – Home Hub

The main menu is one of a series of attractive ‘home’ environments with a console that acts as the jumping-off point for games and other content. The settings menu can also be launched from here, together with a browser. The OS is built on a forked version of Android and works smoothly.

There is a useful training app that helps new users become accustomed to most actions they’ll need to use such as grasping virtual objects.

Content and Games

There is some free content available – particularly video — and a few games. The most engaging free game is Echo VR, which is a bit like zero gravity ultimate frisbee. It provides a good demonstration of what VR can currently offer. However, almost all other games need to be purchased and they’re expensive – most costing $20 to $30 or more. And the number of games available seems modest currently – at least in terms of ones that you would want to play. However, more are in the pipeline including Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell. And if the Quest game library offers too little to interest, it is possible to hook-up the Quest 2 to a PC via an optional ($79) Oculus Link cable. This then allows the headset to slave off a PC and to play more demanding games. Using this route users can also access Steam VR’s library of game titles.

One of the complaints reviewers cite most often regarding the current crop of games is the rapidity of gameplay; the story of a game playing out in as few as three hours. Many games do have good re-playability, but the high entry cost highlights the fact that there are relatively few users  to amortize the costs of authoring the games or adapting them from other platforms.

Beat Saber is among the most recommended and provides a decent challenge. My sons, and my wife – who is far away from a typical gamer – were able to rapidly get engaged and enjoy the game.

Counterpoint Oculus Quest 2 Beat Saber Gameplay

My younger son has been enjoying playing Population: One, in which he is teamed with other users from around the world, who then play collaboratively. It’s a Battle Royale-style game with the unique attribute of being able to climb vertical structures and jump off by spreading your arms and gliding as though wearing a wingsuit.

Counterpoint Oculus Quest 2 Population: One Gameplay

The app on the phone can be used to provide a third-person view of the game action taking place inside the headset. The resolution is even lower than the headset itself but does allow several people to enjoy the gaming action with a single headset.

Other content that’s readily available is video from Oculus TV. Most video content is of the 360-degree type. It’s okay but suffers from the low-resolution issue. And if there is fast motion in the video it can appear jerky – for example watching a skier traverse down a mountain at speed.

Most content developed for Oculus Quest and even Oculus Go should be playable, but it’s worth checking before upgrading to Quest 2.

Battery life is around two hours of continuous gameplay. It’s not a lot, but more than enough for one person. However, if the headset were being passed around between a few players, the battery may give up before the players do.


I am likely not the target market for the Quest 2, so I asked my teenage sons (17 and 14 years of age) if they were ready to swap their PC gaming environments for the Quest 2 (we have not tried the Oculus Link to heavier games). They both looked at me incredulously. And both made similar sorts of comments: my elder son said the Quest 2 was fun as far as it went, but he thought it gimmicky. However, he did say it was better than mobile gaming. My younger son said he sees it more like Nintendo’s Switch; a device that’s more powerful and immersive than mobile games, but one you can use anywhere. However, he also pointed out that the Switch benefits from a host of first party and third party games that Quest 2 doesn’t yet have.

The low starting price of Quest 2 is likely to be its strongest attraction. It is a capable device and will allow new users to get into VR with a relatively low investment. Tech-savvy gamers are likely to be put off by the Facebook-ization of the Oculus environment. But there are many potential consumers who won’t care or who won’t think about the ramifications of Facebook gathering all your VR usage data and more.

We expect Oculus 2, despite its various shortcomings, to do very well during this holiday season and will likely outsell its predecessor products by a sizable margin.

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