Apple headset: rent or buy? Apple plans hardware subscriptions
Apple's headset could be expensive and that could scare off consumers. Unless Apple rents the device instead.
Apple's VR headset will appear late this year or early in 2023, persistent rumors say. The device will be packed with high-end technology and is estimated to cost between $1,000 and $3,000.
That is a lot for new and unproven technology without clear benefits, especially for end consumers. You can justify buying a premium smartphone; after all, you use it throughout the day. With VR headsets, whose most compelling application still is gaming, it's a different story.
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Another problem with virtual reality is that the technology is evolving at breakneck speed. What is high-end today will be outdated in a year. This fact makes it even more difficult for end consumers to buy VR technology. Especially when the devices cost a four-digit amount.
Apple could address both problems with a subscription model: The entry price would be lower and when a new model is launched, the old device could be exchanged for a new one. This would also remove the hurdle of simply trying out VR without spending hundreds or thousands of euros.
Now Apple leaker Mark Gurman reports that the company is currently working on such a subscription model. His Bloomberg report mentions the iPhone, but the new rental option is also supposed to be used for other hardware.
Apple Subscription model: Attack on Meta?
It would be the first time that Apple offers subscriptions for hardware. Customers would then only have to pay a monthly fee instead of the full price. The price will depend on the device chosen and will be determined differently than paying in installments, Gurman's sources say.
The subscription model is expected to launch in late 2022 or early 2023, but could be scrapped, according to Gurman's sources. The same timeframe applies to the launch of Apple's headset.
A subscription model could also be a response to Apple's biggest VR competitor: Meta offers the Meta Quest 2 at an unrivaled low price to sell the device as quickly as possible.
Apple's business model could not be more different and relies on high margins for premium hardware. With a subscription model, Apple could cushion this discrepancy and possibly put pressure on Meta.
Read more about Apple:
- Apple Reality OS: Further clues on the XR operating system
- Apple glasses: A "dream for game developers" and damn expensive
- Apple vs. Meta: Apple doesn't like the Metaverse