Apple Vision Pro Producing a Smaller, Cheaper Version of its Mixed-Reality Headset

Does a VR Headset Actually Feel Realistic?

It’s not often that Apple makes headlines for their decision to make products cheaper, but the Vision Pro has already represented multiple firsts for the company. Since 2022, a mysterious product codenamed N109 has been in development and now we may know what it is – a smaller, cheaper version of the $3,500 Vision Pro headset.

Apple’s Mixed-Reality Vision

It’s still undetermined if the Vision Pro was a success or not. Their mixed-reality headset had its production numbers cut but, given how expensive it is, they must have anticipated it would reach a smaller audience than most Apple products. No matter the answer, it seems to have been an experiment.

Apple’s mixed reality seems more tenable than similar tech like virtual reality, which hasn’t taken off. With mixed reality, users can interface with the real world while harnessing digital resources. Now that the internet is the home of most services, especially entertainment ones, a mixed-reality approach seems like the best. Many businesses have products/services that are based online with no real-world presence, like iGaming. Users search for online slots that they can’t find anywhere else in the physical world, and the same can be said for a variety of internet-based business models. Even with physical products, most shopping is done through e-commerce stores and other online solutions. The digital world has already merged with our real one, and tech companies are just negotiating the terms through their products.

After smartphones brought the internet into our everyday lives, Apple thinks that mixed-reality integration is next. If it has a chance of adoption, however, they need to refine the Vision Pro as it exists today. To hit those majority peaks of an adoption curve, the product typically needs to be widely accessible, convenient to the consumer and, most importantly of all, affordable.

Apple’s Codename N109

To fully understand codename N109 and what it means for the Vision Pro, you need to hear all about the Vision Pro 2. That’s right, Apple was reportedly storming ahead with a sequel headset to the Vision Pro but has now suspended that project. By all accounts, it was going to be better than the first, with more high-end features and likely, a price tag to match. With its suspension, it’s very unlikely we’ll see the Vision Pro 2 in 2025 as per earlier reports.

While there are a lot of unknowns here, it’s been theorized that the first Vision Pro’s sales figures had made their decision for them. It may have helped them realize that slow and steady wins the race, and that they should spend more time housekeeping the Vision Pro brand by catering to consumer concerns. One of the biggest concerns was its $3,500 price tag, which was a lot even for an Apple product.

This is where N109 comes in – allegedly a sub-model of the Vision Pro that will cost around $1,600. That’s about as much as the most expensive iPhones out there on the market and seems like a much more reasonable price tag that consumers can get behind. While the suspension of the Vision Pro 2 may be a heel turn from the company, Apple seems to have had a cheaper alternative planned since 2022.

Source: Pexels

This raises questions about quality since Apple will need to cut from somewhere to keep costs down. Apparently, Apple is trying to keep as many of the original components as possible in this new version. That includes the much-lauded internal display system, arguably the star of the show. That said, if they are stripping the original Vision Pro down, they might want to make it lighter too.

Despite the arguments both for and against the Vision Pro, its lukewarm reception has no doubt troubled Apple. So, if these rumors are correct, they’re going all-in on the more cost-effective version of their mixed reality experiment. If they can make that fly with consumers, then they might just build a stronger audience for the Vision Pro 2 when it comes.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.