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Do Consumers Say They Don't Want a Vision Pro in the Same Way They Once Said They Didn't Want an iPhone? Good Point By Matthew Ball.

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Apple Vision Pro consumer interest poll

Metaverse author Matthew Ball (who we were just talking about!) made a good point in Comments, responding to our survey that nearly half the respondents said they "never" want an Apple Vision Pro. 

The thing is, Matt points out, people once said that about the iPhone before it launched in 2007:

I dare say that it’s foolish for (nearly) anyone to say they will “never” buy a product they’ve not yet tried (and almost no one has), at any price (and implicitly, at any future revision). To say nothing of the company that produces it.

To that end, it recalls Universal McCann’s somewhat infamous study from before the iPhone:

"The simple truth: convergence [as in the case of the iPhone] is a compromise driven by financial limitations, not aspiration. In the markets where multiple devices are affordable, the vast majority would prefer that to one device fits all," wrote the report’s author. "Only 31% of Americans surveyed said they wanted a device with multiple capabilities, and that dropped to 27% in Japan. In the US, 60% of mobile phone users already own three or more specialist devices such as digital cameras, MP3 players and portable media devices.

"Demand was highest in Mexico, where 79% said they would like one converged device, with 72% in Malaysia and Brazil, 70% in India and 65% in the Philippines, although the mobile markets in these countries are driven by very cheap or free handsets."

Of course, there is selection bias in contrasting a failed study for a hit device – which is to say, it does not at all validate HMDs overall, let alone now, or in this product – but the circumstances here are quite similar!

Also very interesting that it was most consumers in the "developing" world who first saw the desirability of a device like the iPhone, while most in the US and Japan did not. But as Matt's point about Apple suggests, it wasn't just that the iPhone played music, and took photos, and sent texts, etc. — it's that the iPhone did all that easily and beautifully.

This also brings to mind a point suggested by Jeff Yang last year, about how an existing desire for many screens at once could benefit the Vision Pro:

Apple has made fundamental choices for years in order to create a new category of device that is meant to replace the computer.

To be clear I know Quest is capable of operating on a standalone basis. I have one. But it’s not designed to be a true laptop replacement (at least yet?) — there’s really no world in which you’re going to productively spend 8 hours a day on your Quest.

Apple is going another way.

It makes sense of course: they’re each trying to future proof their businesses. Zuck is trying to build the next social network, and Apple the next general computing device.

The sticky wicket that's still stickiest is this:

  • Many people already know and value laptops and desktop PCs , with nearly half the global population owning one in their home.
  • Almost everyone values a mobile telephone — you know, the core feature underlying of a smartphone — with 95% of Americans owning a cellphone device of some kind.

By contrast, a mass market still hasn't embraced the form factor of a head-mounted display; as Matt just noted in his latest report, two out of three Quest 2 owners don't even use the device on a monthly basis.

But again (as Matt suggests), we have to wait and see what happens when consumers actually get their hands and heads on an actual Vision Pro, to discern what they really want.

Discuss over the weekend!

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