Biz / Tech

Apple's Vision Pro to land in China this month

Zhu Shenshen
US company announce its high-stake gamble in the augmented reality arena in a country where local firms have the dominant market share with complaints already about high prices.
Zhu Shenshen
Apple's Vision Pro to land in China this month
Ti Gong

Apple's highly anticipated AR device, the Vision Pro, will officially debut in China this month.

Apple's highly anticipated AR device, the Vision Pro, will officially debut in China this month, marking a significant step in the company's foray into the burgeoning augmented reality (AR) market.

Pre-orders began on Friday while sales will start on June 28 in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. The devices have a starting price set at a hefty 29,999 yuan (US$4,225), placing it firmly in the luxury tech category.

The first countries outside the US to get the Vision Pro are China, Japan and Singapore on June 28, followed by Germany, France, Australia, the UK and Canada on July 12.

Apple also released visionOS 2, a major update for users to create spatial photos with images already in their library, intuitive hand gestures to easily access important information, and new features for Virtual Display screen for Mac computers, its Worldwide Developers Conference heard on Tuesday.

"The enthusiasm for Apple Vision Pro has been extraordinary, and we are thrilled to introduce the magic of spatial computing to more customers around the world," Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said.

Currently, there are more than 2,000 spatial apps designed for Apple Vision Pro, and more than 1.5 million compatible apps.

Apple's Vision Pro to land in China this month

A fan wearing Vision Pro outside the new Jing'an Apple Store in Shanghai.

A booming but competitive landscape

In 2024, global AR/VR device market sales are expected to grow 46.4 percent, fueled by Apple's entry which has boosted the market and cultivated consumers.

Apple enters a Chinese market already buzzing with AR activity.

In China, local firms still have a dominant market shares in AR/VR devices, with local giants Pico, Xreal, Rayneo and Rokid, analysts said.

Xreal, with its recently launched Beam Pro, offers a more affordable alternative. The Beam Pro with glasses, priced at 4,000 to 5,000 yuan, prioritizes portability and utilizes a phone-like interface, potentially appealing to consumers hesitant to adopt a completely new device.

AR is still waiting for its "iPhone moment," said Xu Chi, Xreal's chief executive.

The majority of users on Weibo said they won't buy the devices because of their price.

"It's too high for me (at 29,999 yuan). I will consider it when it costs 2,999 yuan," said Ai Te Meng.

But Apple's entry will boost AR-suited content, which will enrich the ecosystem for the whole industry.

The AR/VR devices are suited for training, exhibition, entertainment and medical services, with booming fund-raising cases completed in China recently, said research firm CINNO Group.

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