Why is the Apple Vision Pro so expensive?

If you watched the livestream you would have seen a piece of hardware that was truly impressive: the Apple Vision Pro, a virtual reality headset that looked amazingly impressive. With a set of internal and external cameras, a screen that will show your eyes to outside viewers, and enough processing power to generate some amazing scenes, the device is mouthwateringly exciting.

But, at $3,499, it’s very expensive. Why?

Why are Apple products expensive?

Most Apple products have a 70% markup. That means for every $100 in hardware costs, $30 goes to the manufacturing process and $70 goes back to Apple. This number is fairly familiar to most Apple pundits and it shows us that the Apple Vision Pro costs a hefty $1,000 to make, leaving $2449 back into Apple’s coffers. A piece of hardware that costs $1,000 is quite unique in the CE industry and except for televisions which require a great deal of glass and LED materials, it is fairly rare.

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Therefore, for every Vision Pro that Apple sells there is a cost of $1,000. Compare that to the latest iPhone which costs $999 and therefore sends $699 back into Apple and $300 to their manufacturer. Give the complexity and power of the Vision Pro, however, this $1,000 price tag – and the attendant $3,499 retail price – makes more sense.

Fear not, however. Apple is in the habit of making the first version of its devices very expensive – remember the $17,000 Gold Apple Watch? – and then slowly reduces the price as tooling and manufacturing costs fall. How long will you have to wait until you get a cheaper Apple Vision device? Probably not long. Apple launches new products every WWDC and rest assured that the $3,499 price tag will fall as long as the device is a success.

What else affects Apple hardware prices?

Apple hardware tends to be more expensive compared to some other brands due to several factors:

  1. Premium Design and Build Quality: Apple products are known for their sleek designs and high-quality materials. The company invests heavily in product design, engineering, and manufacturing processes to ensure their devices have a premium look and feel. This commitment to aesthetics and craftsmanship often results in higher production costs.
  2. Research and Development (R&D): Apple has a strong focus on innovation and invests a significant amount of resources into research and development. This includes developing new technologies, improving existing features, and creating unique user experiences. The costs associated with R&D are factored into the pricing of their products.
  3. Component Selection: Apple tends to choose high-end components for their devices, including advanced processors, high-resolution displays, fast storage, and durable materials. These premium components often come with a higher price tag, contributing to the overall cost of the product.
  4. Ecosystem and Integration: Apple devices are designed to work seamlessly within their ecosystem, which includes software (iOS, macOS, etc.) and services (iCloud, Apple Music, etc.). The integration across devices and services offers a cohesive user experience and added convenience. This level of integration requires significant investment in software development and infrastructure, which is reflected in the pricing of the hardware.
  5. Brand Value and Perception: Apple has built a strong brand reputation over the years, associated with quality, innovation, and a loyal customer base. The perceived value of the Apple brand and its products often leads to a premium pricing strategy.

It’s important to note that while Apple products may have higher upfront costs, they are also known for their longevity and resale value. Additionally, the cost of ownership can be influenced by factors like software updates, customer support, and the overall user experience, which can vary from brand to brand.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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