On The Vision Pro’s Price

Apple has clearly decided that low-price or even affordability was not important at all for the Vision Pro.

They have a history of this, and it has been a disaster. The Lisa was almost $30k in current dollars (listed at $10k in 1983). They tried to do better with the Mac, but it launched at the equivalent of $7k the next year. The cost for making this tradeoff in 1984 was the loss of almost the entire PC market to Microsoft and Intel and was an existential problem for Apple until they brought Steve Jobs back.

Apple could never shake the perception that they were overpriced. In 2007, Steve Jobs tried to frame Apple prices as competitive with comparable products and said that they don’t ship junk to compete with the low-end.

Our goal is to make products we are proud to sell and would recommend to our families and friends. And we want to do that at the lowest prices we can. […] What you’ll find is our products are usually not premium priced. […] The difference is we don’t offer stripped down, lousy products.

2007 was the same year that the iPhone came out at prices many times that as most cell phones. Even now, the iPhone competes well in a market with a big low-end (of arguably junk). The effect on Apple was quite different from the Lisa and Mac. The iPhone built Apple into a $3T company.

So, is Vision Pro like the Lisa and way over what the market will bear for the category, or is it like an iPhone that redefines the category around a high end?

My gut is that it’s like the watch, iPad, or AirPods. A great, multi-billion dollar business that will lead the category, but not something that drives the entire business.