Apple sees business as prime market for Apple Vision Pro

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For years we have heard speaking about virtual and augmented reality use cases in businesses around manufacturing, field service, and product design, but for the most part the notion has failed to take significant hold. The question now is whether the Apple Vision Pro (AVP), released last week to much fanfare, will shake things up when it comes to moving these types of devices to the enterprise mainstream.

While most people use terms like “augmented reality”, “virtual reality” or even “metaverse” (thanks Meta), Apple prefers to define the genre in its own terms, referring to the Apple Vision Pro as the spatial computing or mixed reality. In typical fashion, Apple is trying to define a new category. Whatever you call it, the company certainly sees the AVP as a professional device alongside its more obvious consumer use cases around gaming, media consumption, and good old web browsing. the Web. It certainly has the potential to transform the online shopping experience.

On the Apple Quarterly call for results With analysts earlier this month, CEO Tim Cook emphasized that he was seeing a lot of interest in the company. “Leading organizations across many industries such as Walmart, Nike, Vanguard, Stryker, Bloomberg and SAP have begun leveraging and investing in Apple Vision Pro as a new platform to deliver innovative spatial computing experiences to their customers and employees,” Cook said. Note this reference to spatial computing.

Cook cited ideas for businesses such as daily productivity, collaborative product design and immersive training. The ability to have a so-called infinite desktop is key to productivity: users can open multiple programs and move them around in a huge palette that gives new meaning to extra screen space. Whether these devices are useful for content creation, however, remains an open question.

With 600 applications announced last week, and more anticipated over time, the Apple Vision Pro allows users to access the same applications they are used to using on macOS and iOS, but adapted to the visual experience of the ‘device. To select an app, users simply look at the icon in an interface similar to Apple’s other apps, like Safari, Photos, Messages, and Mail. When the gaze focuses on the icon, it lights up and users bring their finger and thumb together to select it.

The Apple Vision Pro sports a familiar-looking interface. Image credits: Apple

One of the big differences between this device and previous ones is that even though it goes over your eyes, you can see through it. Apple deliberately designed it that way, allowing the user to see the world and other people to see the user’s eyes, so there wasn’t as much separation between the two. The company believes this will change the experience and perhaps generate new use cases.

Steve Sinclair, head of global product marketing for Apple Vision Pro, says the company sees the device as an opportunity to explore new ways to interact with software. “As the first space computer, it really gave us a platform to build on to create new space experiences,” he told TechCrunch. “We really think it’s really important to be able to bring information into your space while still allowing you to stay connected with the people around you. And this obviously has applications from a consumer point of view but also from a business point of view.

Last year, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas surveyed more than 400 U.S.-based IT decision-makers at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and found that there were several potential use cases, including: keeping in mind that this investigation was conducted before people got their hands on one. “I think we’re still trying to understand the use cases, especially when it comes to B2B use,” Llamas told TechCrunch. “About 56% use it for training, about 44% for customer-facing retail experiences, and 43-44% for collaboration. Note that none of these use cases involve content creation.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, who has tried the device and is mostly positive about the experience, sees similar use cases. “We expect field service, training and customer experience to be the primary use cases,” Wang said.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it was placing AVP under trusteeship Apple device management umbrella, making it much more acceptable to IT as a professional device that can be managed in the same way as any Apple device.

But is that enough for companies to commit to a product that starts at $3,500? Jon Turow, a partner at Madrona Ventures, says this pricing approach follows a typical pattern of how Apple tends to introduce new hardware, including the iPhone, iPad, Watch, or other new device. Over time, the company adds features and refines its approach, and the price generally tends to come down, and newer versions at different price points have also become the norm.

“Some people will be willing to pay for it. Apple has the Apple Watch Ultra and [there is a market for that]. They’re trying to find the northernmost price, and then they’ll probably come up with another option below that,” Turow said.

In its survey of IT professionals, IDC’s Llamas found that Turow might actually be right: 65 percent of respondents were interested in the device as described at WWD, and about half said that they would definitely buy it. The other half expressed curiosity.

“When enterprise users come back and say they want to get their hands on this, I think it speaks to Apple’s ability to court enterprise users with this device,” Llamas told TechCrunch.

It also has obvious advantages over other devices. Wang called it the best eye tracking he’s ever seen. “Think about merging macOS and iOS and this is what you get,” he said.

But there are some obvious things that will need to be addressed. For example, the AVP is attached to a battery, which is definitely annoying and a big weakness, according to Wang, but one he expects Apple to fix in future releases. “It feels a lot lighter when the battery isn’t connected, but it’s temporary. I am sure the power will improve with time,” he said.

Users also have the option to create their own apps. As a developer ecosystem begins to emerge, we will begin to see applications built from scratch, some for consumers and others for businesses, designed specifically for this paradigm.

Apple has clearly advanced technology, whatever you want to call it, and created a pleasant user experience, bringing the outside world in as much as you want. But so far, no AR devices have enticed businesses to buy them on a large scale. For now, Apple’s entry is cool to experiment with, but it’s unclear whether people want to wear a device on their face for hours, no matter how good the interface design is.

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