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Apple Vision Pro could replace your iPad but there’s one hiccup

Since it came out in early February, we’ve been hearing a ton about how Apple’s Vision Pro might take over for some of their other gadgets, especially the iPad. Now, big-time leaker Mark Gurman has jumped in and added some weight to the idea of the headset being a real threat to tablets. But, while that sounds believable, there’s one big issue with it.

The main problem is the cost. Gurman’s Power On newsletter brings up some valid points about the Vision Pro’s advantages, but it can’t ignore the fact that the device costs a whopping $3,500. If the Vision Pro is supposed to take over for the iPad, a lot needs to change, especially considering the wide range of prices the iPad line offers.

Also Read: Did Apple launch its Vision Pro headset at the wrong time?

Is comparing Vision Pro to the iPad fair?

When Gurman compares the Vision Pro to the iPad, he points out that the Vision Pro “has the potential to provide a far better experience for the main jobs that Apple’s tablet was designed to handle” (though he admits it’s still very early days). Everything you’d use an iPad for—light work, entertainment, checking out your photos, and more—can be done in a more immersive and expansive way on the Vision Pro.

Both products cover a lot of the same ground, even sharing many of the same apps. However, the Vision Pro’s “spatial computing” advantage gives it an edge in many ways.

Sure, Apple would probably just tell you they’d like you to buy both products, and that there’s no reason why one has to replace the other. But, the company isn’t scared of eating into its own products’ market share—just look at what happened to the iPod after the iPhone came out.

So, the thought of the Vision Pro taking over for the iPad definitely makes sense. If Apple really believes that the Vision Pro can do everything the iPad can, but in a better, more immersive way, it won’t hesitate to push its headset over its tablet. But, I’m not convinced we’re anywhere close to that happening, nor do I think we will be for a long, long time.

The hefty cost is the biggest hurdle

The big issue is pretty straightforward: the cost. There’s no way around it—the Vision Pro is just too expensive to replace the iPad anytime soon.

Consider this: The Vision Pro kicks off at $3,500, making it one of the most expensive products Apple offers. On the flip side, you can snag a fresh iPad for $329—over 90% less than the Vision Pro. Even a fully loaded iPad Pro will cost you $2,399, which is still $1,100 less than the base model Vision Pro. And even if there’s a cheaper version of the Vision Pro, it’s still going to face this same issue.

Sure, some iPad users might see the Vision Pro and think it does everything their tablet does, but in a better, more immersive way. But will they think it does all their important tasks ten times better than their iPad? Or will they believe it’s worth the huge cost when they can do similar tasks for a fraction of the price on the iPad?

A cheaper Vision Pro could solve this problem

Of course, there’s a big elephant in the room: the rumored cheaper Vision Pro model that Apple is supposedly working on. Could this solve the pricing problem and finally allow the Vision Pro to outshine the iPad? Yes and no. At the moment, the cheaper Vision Pro doesn’t seem like it’s going to be all that cheap, with rumors suggesting it could be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. That’s still too expensive for most folks, and the only iPad that can really compete at that price point is the top-of-the-line iPad Pro.

If the headset is ever going to become a mainstream device, it has to become more affordable. It’s not like the iPhone, a device that can get away with its price increasing over the years because it’s so essential to everyday life. The Vision Pro isn’t at that stage yet and probably won’t be for a long time—and its price is one of the main things holding it back from getting there.

Another major reason is the mixed-reality industry’s immaturity. When Apple first launched the Apple Watch, it provided people with a device they instinctively knew how to use. That’s not the case with the Vision Pro—it needs a thorough demonstration from Apple and a lot of personal customization.

As long as the Vision Pro isn’t something people use every day, Apple’s headset won’t be able to completely replace the iPad. It’s just too complicated for most folks, even though Apple has done a great job simplifying its gesture control system.

So, while we can imagine the Vision Pro eventually encroaching on the iPad’s turf, a lot needs to happen before then. Not only does the price need to drop, but we also need to completely shift our attitude towards mixed-reality headsets and fully embrace them. That’s going to take a while, and it might end up being a future that’s just out of reach for now.

Also Read: Apple Vision Pro’s most tantalizing question answered

Does Apple Vision Pro work with glasses?

You can’t rock your glasses with Apple’s debut VR headset. Despite being as chunky as other headsets, the Vision Pro is crammed with tech, leaving no space for glasses. So, you gotta figure out a different fix for your eyewear situation. Apple teamed up with Zeiss to whip up optical inserts that play super well with the Vision Pro, making room for all sorts of prescription lenses. Zeiss is even on board to craft Vision Pro inserts for those rocking progressive or bifocal lenses.

If you’re into those budget-friendly readers from the drugstore, you’ve got three options: +0.75 to +1.25D, +1.50 to +1.75D, and +2.00 to +2.75D. If your readers are rocking a strength above +2.75, Apple recommends giving the available reader inserts a shot – maybe one of those will do the trick.

Readers in the wrong strength might surprisingly do the trick, and here’s why. Similar to many VR headsets, Apple’s Vision Pro creates virtual screens that seem like they’re a few feet away, even though the actual displays are right up close to your peepers. For folks who wear readers and struggle with up-close focus, a screen a few feet away is actually easier to nail down.

Sadly, there are certain situations Zeiss can’t fix. If your prescription throws a prism value into the mix, they won’t be able to accommodate it. To make sure your prescription plays nice with Zeiss optical inserts, give their prescription guide on the company’s website a look.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.