Although I must say I'm not very interested in Apple's latest device for many reasons I explained before, I'm still discussing it with many of our customers. This will pass, but for now, undeniably, the Apple Vision Pro is a huge question mark for everyone. It may be useful to understand that being a question mark is certainly its core raison d'être for Apple, too.

The history of the Apple Watch plots this roadmap where Apple launches a device in the market with a few use cases that are admittedly not well defined, including some gimmicks that won't last for long. The V1 here is a question mark for the market: what do you want to do with this device? How do you feel about it? When are you finding it useful to spend time with? Then, a V2 comes in, locking into the feedback of the first wave of customers, and by the V3, the product core mission is pretty well defined.

And that makes sense when you understand that Apple, since the 2000s, has not been a computer and hardware company anymore. It's a platform company.

The Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Only one of those is a computer. So we’re changing the name. - Steve Jobs, announcing that Apple was dropping 'Computers' from its name in 2007

The product is the platform that you access through apps and software, which you buy (or get for free) on the App Store, which, yes, at its periphery, runs on proprietary hardware devices. Crunch that in a single statement if you want, such as "Apple is a platform company mostly monetizing with premium hardware devices." The 'mostly' is there to remind you that they now also monetize more and more services unrelated to any hardware lock-in (Apple TV and others).

Apple always makes the strategic choice of being relatively vague about any product V1 as they mostly care about sustaining their platform's ecosystem. Any new device is certainly not an afterthought but only has value in so far as it does sustain the platform. A startup wouldn't have this luxury as they would need to get right a first mission-critical/problem-solving crystal clear use case to step into the market (consider Humane in that regard as the best example of what not to do!).

The fact that I don't see any critical application for the Apple Vision Pro that would sustain their ecosystem in a meaningful way is my only critique about it, really (quick reminder: I see the B2B applications, see the B2B applications, but Apple is a consumer company).

With all that being said (or reminded), you should still pay attention to the Apple Vision Pro. Not because of a foreseeable flop but because it's going to map out how Apple deals with product iterations and how it will try to boost its platform with this new point of entry in our daily routines. And suppose you really want to understand their strategy for fine-tuning. In that case, you will see that in the end, the real calculations driving their next five-year roadmap will be the ratio of cutting down the cost of the Vision Pro to lower its market barrier to entry vs. increasing the monthly revenue stream they will be able to generate from it.

The more expensive the device, the higher the app revenues and service subscriptions should be expected. This sustains my claim that Apple dropped the ball with the Vision Pro, considering that an amazing subscription service they should have focused on with such an immersive device, capable of rendering extra layers of infotainment on a 4K video stream, would have been... sports.

ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch joint sports streaming platform this year
Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery plan to launch the service as media companies move away from traditional cable viewing of sports games.

Apple has missed the latest major deal in the sports industry.

And yet Apple is out of the latest major sport-content deal of the last decades. Did they drop the ball on this one? Yup. Pun, very much included. In that context, you can still discuss the merits or issues with Apple Vision Pro external battery or whatnot, but you'd be missing the point.

The product is never that interesting by itself.

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