After several delays, Apple finally introduced the “spatial computer” Vision Pro to the world a month ago. At the same time, the Californians gave themselves plenty of time to develop, announcing that the headset won’t go on sale until early next year. In the meantime, the manufacturing partners are supposed to improve profit margins and solve other problems.
However, as the Financial Times reported today, things are not going according to plan. On the contrary, according to the article, Apple had to significantly downgrade its internal target of selling 1 million Vision Pro headsets in the first month of availability. Two insiders claim that Luxshare, which final assembles the headset, now expects to produce fewer than 400,000 units in 2024. Two other component suppliers have reportedly only received orders for 130,000 to 150,000 units for next year.
Micro OLED displays too expensive
The most expensive components cause the most headaches – the two micro-OLED displays from Sony and TSMC suffer from low yields. In other words, the panels are too expensive to produce and threaten Apple’s profit margin goals. Accordingly, Apple is already working on a cheaper headset and considered other display technologies for the Vision Pro headset. In the end, mini-LEDs like those built into the current iPad Pro tablets, were discarded. Apple opted for the more sophisticated Micro-OLED solution. The Americans are currently in talks with Samsung and LG to win them over as display suppliers for the cheaper device. Also, the second generation Vision Pro headset is already in the works.
However, the design of the new top model is very complex and includes some unique features. This includes EyeSight, which projects an additional view visible to other participants. That and the high-resolution micro-OLED displays for the headset wearer inevitably caused problems when Apple tried to scale production. Therefore, the market launch was only scheduled for a date months after the announcement. However, it seems that Apple and its partners have underestimated the challenge even further.