Why I Can’t Bet Against Apple’s Vision Pro

Back then, part of what I was reacting to was a social norm. At the time, it might have been considered rude to glance at your watch during a meeting, or while having dinner with your family. But a decade later, that action no longer registers (to me, at least) as inappropriate, because so many people now have Apple Watches that many people have developed new norms around it.

Now, we assume that people who check their watches at dinner are probably trying to avoid pulling out their phones, which would be ruder and more disruptive. In other words, mass adoption killed the taboo.

The same thing could happen with mixed-reality headsets. Sure, you might feel self-conscious putting on a Vision Pro today. But a few years from now, if a third of your co-workers are joining Zoom calls with their headsets, and you see people watching V.R. movies on every flight you take, it might not feel so dumb.

Apple has a knack for entering a product category at just the right time. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone in 2007, or even the first touch-screen smartphone. The iPad wasn’t the first tablet. But in both cases, the company brought excitement and sex appeal to products that hadn’t previously had it. Apple let other companies make some of the expensive mistakes, and it focused on making a great product.

The same thing could happen with Apple and the Vision Pro. Meta, Magic Leap and other companies have plowed billions of dollars into basic research and development for virtual and mixed reality headsets, learning from the failures of earlier devices like Google Glass. They’ve improved many of the device components, and the actual headsets are now more attractive. But they haven’t had a huge commercial hit.

That may be because virtual and augmented reality are fundamentally bad ideas, and the market for these devices may be destined to remain small. But it could be that the market just needed Apple to arrive. A few years from now, if you’re reading this on your Vision Pro, or in an Apple device attached directly to your corneas, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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