Copy of 398985483-1686029882898
The UAE's VR-embedded headset market hasn't got its eye in as far as consumers are concerned. Vision Pro from Apple could break that logjam. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Will UAE shoppers – even those not really defined as Apple die-hards – rush to buy the new VR headset – the Vision Pro - on its introduction sometime in the second-half of 2024? Even when the retail price could be anywhere in the region of Dh15,000?

The current UAE VR headset bestseller is the Quest 2 from Meta (the company behind Facebook). Its price? Around Dh1,499?

Read more

Apple, as it is known to do, doesn’t call the Vision Pro a VR headset. Nope, it is a ‘spatial computer that blends digital content with the physical world’. Of course, the term ‘revolutionary’ is there to offer a context. All of it was said along with the Vision Pro on Monday (June 5).

On its UAE launch, the first sign-ups will be the younger user, heavy into gaming, and willing to see the world through a different set of lens. Even when that costs more than $3,000.

Copy of 822490-01-02-1686029889724
Apple on Monday unveiled its first-ever virtual reality headset challenging Facebook-owner Meta in a market that has yet to tempt users beyond videogamers and tech geeks.

“If Apple can bring out a definitive iPhone model for the year, the combo with the headset would be a compelling one for early adopters of the Vision Pro,” said a retailer.

And could even find a core audience beyond the gamers. ”Actually, I would be a little worried Vision Pro will further dent the TV market as it creates your personal 100-inch screen with a most immersive viewing experience,” said Rajat Asthana, Chief Operating Officer at Eros, the Dubai-based tech retailer.

Based on what Apple’s said yesterday, it’s taking your 100-inch virtual viewing screen with you wherever you want.

- Rajat Asthana

Apple’s had a good run, with the iPhone 14 still holding up on the sales side. In the UAE, discounts are being offered these days, trimming Dh500-Dh800 from the launch price. Apple also has been expanding its retail presence in the UAE, the most recent being the ones in Abu Dhabi, while its long-time partner, iStyle launched an Apple ‘Premium Partner’ store at Dubai Marina Mall, where only Apple-branded products will be sold. (iStyle already has 13 Apple ‘Premium Seller’ stores in the UAE, where other brands too can be part of the merchandise.)

Will Vision Pro be another game-changer?

Analysts call it the most important product add-on for the US brand after the iPhone and the Watch.

According to Asthana, “the VR headsets currently available have had limited success in the UAE, even though the gaming market continues to grow.

“With Vision Pro, the difference could be in the software embedded, which will make it an extension of the Apple ecosystem. And fit in with the array of Apple products consumers already use.”

Our IDC quarterly tracker showed that the AR/VR headsets market had strong growth and was just under $150 million in Middle East and Africa in 2022.

I project it will be a serious challenger to existing brands given Apple’s popularity in premium segments of other markets such as mobile phones and wearables. New entrants will boost the entire ecosystem (hardware and software) and increased competition will create more options for users. A growing installed base will drive content development in AR/VR.”

- Roberto Alunni, Associate Director, Devices (MEA), IDC

We expect the Apple headset to be available early next year in the US - however, there hasn’t been an announcement on its official availability in the region.

- Roberto Alunni