At 3499$ a piece, with a long feature list and very few launch day applications, the Apple Vision Pro headset is a mass produced tech demo
Obviously not intended as a consumer product, what are Apple's plans for the Vision Pro? Is it a new disruptor for the already beaten Movie Cinema market? An Apple Car plugin? A relic of the cold war with Meta?
The truth is that Apple doesn't probably know the answer. Apple's plans are to let its developer army and enthusiastic community to decide themselves.
Apple has released a mass produced tech demo. We would be the ones to decide what direction it would take, so that Apple could cut the unneccsary fat and release the Vision V2, a slimmed down focused product.
Apple has just outsourced the product process to us.
Apple doesn't wanna "do legs"
Do you really need realistic legs in the Metaverse? Do legs bring any real value to the product? Will they attract new users or prevent attrition? Who knows. But the crowd seems to want them, and without real user behavior analytics to help steer the multi billion dollar ship in the right direction, Meta has decided to develop legs.
Failing the first iteration has cemented this obviously esoteric feature as the de-facto quality bar for the Metaverse. Now what would you do in Zuckerberg's shoes? In our small social club of startup founders and employees this has become a running gag, a meme.
"What are you working on now?"
"Well, the next 6 months seem to be all legs. Hopefully we'd come up with a real roadmap by then".
Letting the market educate you
So how do you beat the vicious, clickbait infused cycle of bad features leading to bad press leading to attrition?
Apple has turned the process on its head. Instead of notifyig the users when the product is ready, it introduced a working protoype and now Apple is waiting for the community to notify it when it's ready.
This process is nothing new. Computer games have an "early access" stream for years now. Some managing to build a bustling modding and development community years prior to reaching general availability.
But Apple is a member of the Trillion Dollar Club, not an indy development crew. One has to wonder the amount of fear Meta's venture has instilled in Apple's leadership, for it to open its product development process like that.
Not a Jobs-approved decision
Could this have happened during Steve Job's tenure as Apple's CEO and supreme leader? The answer would have to be an echoing "no".
Jobs' approach to market friction has always been "if we build it they will come". He operated in an era where he could hire people that knew best, and "educating the market" was something you were allowed to say.
Tim Cook has obviously built a different kind of leadership, for a different era. Looking at Elon Musk's Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg's Meta, we must all wonder when will the others join in as well.
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