Millions of Americans would buy an Apple VR headset, survey suggests


Fluent has released a flurry of data this morning, on the iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2 and, tucked away at the end of its research figures, that almost a quarter of Americans over 18-years old would purchase an Apple VR headset.

Millions, really?

Fluent asked 1,735 adult US residents, “Would you purchase a virtual reality headset from Apple?” An astonishing 23 percent of them said, “Yes”.

That’s astonishing when you think about it. There are over 209 million US citizens aged 18-years or more. So does this really mean Apple would sell nearly 52 million VR headsets if it shipped one? That’s one heck of a lot of “Pokemons”, if it did. Apple has already made up to $60 million from the popular VR game.

Because I’m UK-based I’m acutely aware that polls can be tweaked to deliver completely false results, such as the many that attempt to deny the street level popularity of the incumbent Labour party leader. All the same, the survey shows that interest in an Apple VR headset is very high – much higher than I anticipated.

Secret projects…

We know Apple has been making big investments in AR since before it shipped the very first iPhone.

As long ago as 2008, analysts from Research & Markets wrote:

“Today’s personal viewers provide video only with limited visibility of the environment. Sony and Apple are developing the next generation personal viewer, the navigation/video sunglasses. These products will offer navigation features in full see-through mode as well as video viewing with a clip-on to block the background. We expect that clip-ons will be available to provide both see-periphery views of the environment, as well as full blocking of the environment to enable video immersion when desired. This new versatile product generation will further accelerate acceptance and sales of personal viewers.”

That Apple has been working on these technologies was recently part confirmed when Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity.” (For some ideas of the opportunity look here.)

Metal gear’s solid

So, with a decade’s work under the company’s belt, what is it that it is waiting for? I think it is the processing power to drive such experiences. I think it has been Metal for graphics. I think it has been Swift for ease of crafting immersive environments. I still don’t know if anything will actually show.

Whatever does transpire, the Fluent data suggests that once Apple gets a product together that it thinks is good enough to ship, it has a huge opportunity if it gets the product right. It won’t ship if it doesn’t.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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1 Response

  1. March 20, 2017

    […] You won’t need to drink the Kool-Aid to explore Apple’s new realities. Bloomberg claims you’ll be able to taste these solutions with your iPhone and (at some indeterminate point) get more deeply involved in Apple AR using a pair of Apple glasses. […]

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