The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

Apple’s Vision Pro is a bet on hard economic reality

By Will Dunn

06 Jun 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. Times are tough for many people who have been battered by the economic effects of a global pandemic and then a huge rise in inflation, which is most serious for those who can least afford it.

When Apple announced the first iPhone in 2007, the thing that most amused Steve Ballmer, then the CEO of Microsoft, was the price. “Five hundred dollars?" he laughed. "That is the most expensive phone in the world!” Microsoft’s software was already in tens of millions of much cheaper phones. Analysts agreed that consumers who had already bought an iPod, a digital camera and a mobile phone were unlikely to want an expensive but limited combination of all three.

They were wrong, of course. The business of selling very expensive personal technology was just getting started. The original iPhone cost £440 in today’s money, while the latest iPhones cost from £849 to £1,749. Apple’s new Vision Pro virtual reality headset, announced yesterday, will cost $3,499 when it goes on sale next year (expect a UK price of around £3,500).

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