Apple, which is poised to launch its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset on Feb. 2, is already envisioning future workplace applications for the device, including using it for surgery, aircraft repair and teaching students.
In a video sent to employees this week, Apple executives Mike Rockwell and Alan Dye discussed the product’s development, as well as potential growth areas for the still-nascent technology. Bloomberg News obtained a transcript of the conversation, which came just before Apple began accepting preorders for the Vision Pro on Friday.
When asked about some “cool” ways that people could use the $3,499 Vision Pro, Rockwell cited health care, training and education as key areas.
“Oftentimes, surgeons struggle to look at displays during procedures, where information is spread out,” said Rockwell, the vice president in charge of the device. “Apple Vision Pro could bring all of that together and hopefully improve patient outcomes.”
Separately, the company told employees in a memo Thursday that they’ll be eligible for a 25% discount on the Vision Pro. That’s less than the 50% markdown that Apple offered when the company launched its smartwatch and HomePod smart speaker — though those products didn’t have as high a price tag. It would take the cost down to about $2,600, excluding taxes and options.
Employees also get $500 to spend on a Mac every three years, a credit they’ll be able to apply to the headset. And Apple will reimburse the cost of prescription lenses for the product, according to the memo, which was seen by Bloomberg.
The Cupertino, California-based company has marketed the Vision Pro as a consumer device for gaming, video and communication. But Apple is looking for ways to broaden its appeal. Technicians or aircraft mechanics could use it to get “high-quality training in ways they’ve never been able to experience before,” Rockwell said.
Rockwell added that he’s “very excited about what we can do in learning and education because it is another superpower of Apple Vision Pro.”
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two of Rockwell’s lieutenants — Dave Scott and Yaniv Gur — are investigating new applications for the Vision Pro. Scott was previously an executive on Apple’s car team before briefly leaving to run a mobile MRI machine company. He’s now in charge of finding ways for enterprises to use the headset. Gur, who used to run engineering for Apple’s productivity apps, is overseeing potential education opportunities for the device.
Apple is betting that mixed reality — the melding of virtual and augmented reality — will eventually become a major source of revenue. But the hefty price will make it harder to win over consumers.
Success of the Vision Pro also will hinge on third-party developers. Though Apple has lined up content from many big entertainment providers, including Walt Disney Co., others have balked at supporting the new device.
Netflix Inc., Spotify Technology SA and Google’s YouTube don’t plan to offer Vision Pro apps for their services, forcing users to see their content through the device’s web browser — a less immersive experience.
Apple hopes the headset’s groundbreaking technology will help win converts.
“We strived to make a product that was a tool, not a toy,” Rockwell said. “To make a product for productivity or high-end entertainment, displays had to be exceptional, so we invested a lot in creating a new, uncompromising high-resolution display system.”