What would you prefer to see next—an advanced Apple Vision Pro 2 or a more affordable Apple Vision Pro? The answer feels obvious to us and to the Cupertino company as well, as reports indicate its halting progress on the upgraded version of the Vision Pro in order to focus on a more affordable version of its current device. Ever since the device launched on February 2, 2024, things have not been going well for the mixed-reality headset, with a large number of users complaining about the gadget. The Apple Vision Pro has many drawbacks, including but not limited to its size and price, but it is difficult to deny its potential to be great.

Apple skipped making any serious Vision Pro series updates and commitments at the WWDC 2024, choosing to focus solely on the VisionOS 2 software coming later this year. For users, it has been hard to get excited about a software upgrade for a device they’ll scarcely get to experience. We haven’t formally heard from them about their plans for the next iteration of the device, and now it appears the company is focusing its energy on convincing users to purchase the current headset as is. 

Apple Vision Pro budget version

Image: The Apple Vision Pro

Will We Be Blessed by a More Affordable Apple Vision Pro?

Rumors about Apple Vision Pro’s “Budget version” have been floating around even before the first iteration of the device was launched. When customers learned that the device was going to be priced at $3,499 USD, many washed their hands of it at once, conscious of the fact that it would remain well outside their budget. The possibility of an affordable version lifted some spirits, but the lack of clarity about the specs of the headset eventually regulated some of that excitement. 

Now reputed sources like Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and The Information have confirmed the rumors of the cheaper device codenamed “N107,” directing us towards the features that could be eliminated or downgraded to better suit our smaller budgets. 

Initially, it appeared the company would debut the Apple Vision Pro 2 first and then switch its attention to a budget-friendly variant but that plan has been laid to rest. This means the affordable Apple Vision Pro has a tentative launch timeline at the end of 2025, while a faster, enhanced Vision Pro 2 won’t be here before the end of 2026. Until then, the $3,499 USD price tag is here to stay.

To Apple’s credit, the Apple Vision Pro does look like a premium device and it has many sophisticated details and structural elements that must have taken significant work to design. Some might find the quality of the device deserving of the high price tag, but for an everyday individual, it’s hard to justify spending on a device that you can’t use for too long and one that you’ll probably only use when you want to show your guests what it can do. The lack of extensive app integration limits the potential of the device, but despite the negative press the “spatial computer” has received, fans are still optimistic about the Apple Vision Pro 2.

Apple Vision Pro updates

What Are the Changes Being Considered for the Apple Vision Pro Budget Version?

To make the affordable Apple Vision Pro a reality, the company has been experimenting with many different areas where it can bring down the costs. One way the cheaper Vision Pro might be different is that it might get rid of the EyeSigne display that is currently available. The feature is more for those around you than for you, showing others an image of your eyes to indicate whether you are fully immersed in a virtual experience. 

It’s a feature many hate due to its distorted appearance, but some appreciate the future potential of the setting to support customization. Users looking forward to the Apple Vision Pro budget version won’t miss the feature too much if it means a more attainable device, so it makes sense for the designers to eliminate this detail. The Apple Vision Pro updates also indicate that Apple will retain the high-resolution display to ensure customers can still make full use of the device, but conflicting rumors also suggest the quality of the AR passthrough visuals could take a hit. 

The passthrough technology is what allows users to see their physical environment despite having the headset on, and it is a key feature that sets it apart from some of its competitors. Getting rid of the feature is not an option but reducing its quality might bring down the price. According to GSMArena, the cheaper version could also come with a simpler headband and speaker setup, and the number of cameras could also be reduced. One of Apple Vision Pro’s drawbacks was its heavy weight so the cheaper alternative might be free from that particular problem. Unfortunately, they will also have to accept the fate of fewer features from the company.

Apple Vision Pro drawbacks

Apple Vision Pro Updates—Tethered to Thrive

One of the key changes that have been discussed for the more affordable Apple Vision Pro—possibly named the Apple Vision Lite—is that it might change tactics and require a tethered device to work. This would mean the headset would require you an iPhone or a Mac in order to function. Adding in a tethered device could allow the company to use a cheaper processor and offload some of the computing power necessary to the attached device but this brings up many questions.

Apple devices are historically compatible exclusively with other Apple devices so would you have to switch to an iOS smartphone in order to experience the headset? That would alienate a pretty significant segment of the population that may be willing to invest in an affordable Apple Vision Pro headset. There is also the matter of how capable the tethered device is. If it turns out it’s necessary to have a device with the latest chipset on the market, then older iPhone and Mac users will have to consider the cost of upgrading their existing devices. 

If their expenses are about to rack up, then the budget version of the Apple Vision Pro will fail before it can get off the ground. Despite all of these updates, the cheaper Apple Vision Pro is still expected to cost around $1,500-$2,000 USD, so you need to prepare to spend at least a little more than you would on a top-end iPhone.

The many Apple Vision Pro drawbacks have not been ideal, and Meta ramping up its headset’s versatility at significantly lower prices hasn’t helped either. Apple is said to have halted all development on the Vision Pro 2, shifting its employees away from the project to focus on the cheaper headset. If they can successfully make an affordable Apple Vision Pro that still has enough of the qualities of the superior device, the company will still have a good shot at turning this into a successful product line, just like their iPhones.