Apple has managed to generate considerable enthusiasm with the launch of Vision Pro, sporting a price of USD$3,500 (~£2,820). Are we at the threshold of a new era in digital marketing, or is this just another fleeting trend in the constantly evolving ad tech panorama?
Known for shaking up the market with its innovative products, Apple’s biggest product launch in years takes form with the Vision Pro MR headset, set to be released in 2024. Enabling users to interact with virtual objects in their physical environment, consumers can browse apps, record videos and watch entertainment all with a simple swipe of their hand, ushering in a new era of MR/VR engagement.
Some are frightened by the price tag, which is a cool USD$3,500 (~£2,820), while others are perhaps dissuaded by VR's dystopian depiction throughout popular culture - digital environments and life in a headset, it's all a bit Black Mirror for some.
Given the recent reports indicating that the initial target of 1 million shipments by 2024 has been hindered by manufacturing challenges, an age-old question emerges: Will supply align with demand?
All fear mongering aside, Vision Pro has vast potential for the ad industry. Marketers, take note, this could be the beginning of something big.
Attention is a fickle business. As we recently heard, at ATS London, from Mediahub’s chief digital officer, Erfan Djazmi, “inattention has resulted in $45bn of wasted annual global ad spend."
So, how does an industry that is effectively built on the attention economy counter this challenge?
Perhaps the most ‘obvious’ of all features available for digital marketers will be the ability to capitalise and build upon interactive advertisements for users with the Vision Pro – MR/VR technology enables interaction to move from passive consumption to active participation.
With its advanced capabilities, the Vision Pro will empower brands to expand their reach beyond physical locations, providing enhanced dynamic experiences through virtual product demonstrations and interactive advertisements.
If advertisers, at their core, are storytellers, VR/MR could be the ultimate storytelling platform. For the naysayers, numbers speak louder than words. Research from OmniVirt shows that AR/VR ads brought in more clicks and engagement than 2D ads, while Unity Blog found that interactive VR ads achieved a much higher emotional response – an elevated heart rate (+24%), heightened galvanic skin response, or sweating, (+44% peaks/minute), and increased muscle activation (more than 3X) associated with smiling.
Instead of defaulting back to our now shorter-than-ever attention spans, this could open up an entirely new world of interactivity and captivation for consumers.
Data, data everywhere
Personalised consumer experiences and data-driven marketing could make major strides with Apple Vision Pro.
With a headset that is covered in sensors, marketers will be able to take into account a user’s gestures, expressions and even their emotions. This will be instrumental in collecting valuable data, which will provide insight into consumer behaviour, resulting in hyper-targeted, hyper-personalised ads.
This could very well extend into CTV advertising. With the advanced capabilities of the Vision Pro headset, advertisers would have the opportunity to leverage augmented reality overlays and collect valuable user data to enhance their CTV advertising campaigns.
Ultimately, if Apple manages to successfully introduce the first consumer interface integrated with this particular system, it will gain entry to a realm of user data that was once limited to scientific experiments. The management of personal data, especially in this particular scenario, will be essential.
Pushing the boundaries of a VR/MR marketing ecosystem
The idea of a ripple effect is something that we have to seriously consider when thinking about the marketing possibilities of the Apple Vision Pro. We once scoffed at the usefulness of massive iPhones, a touch screen watch, and large bluetooth earphones – Apple is continuously pushing the boundaries of what we deem as ‘acceptable’ tech.
Doubting Apple’s potential to disrupt the market is not a new phenomenon. Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer infamously said in an interview that the iPhone had “no chance” of taking over the smartphone market.
The same can be said looking at it from a digital marketing angle - what can distinguish the Vision Pro for marketers is Apple’s influence in creating new marketing ecosystems. Those eager to embrace the Vision Pro must weigh the investment against the expected returns. Nevertheless, given Apple’s reputation and the constant demand for innovative technology, healthy adoption rates are anticipated among businesses, especially in industries valuing immersive experiences, such as entertainment and collaboration.
Looking to the future
What strikes me about Apple’s Vision Pro concept is how it differs from Meta’s idea of what VR, MR or AR should be. Christening it ‘spatial computing’ is more than mere spin; it’s a whole different approach.
So, Vision Pro is an iPad for your face. Only more comfortable. What’s the opportunity for marketers?
In the short-term, Vision Pro would make a spectacular way to interact with physical brand experiences. As it’s self-contained (not tethered to a host device via a cable or wi-fi) there’s no limit to the size of that experience, only the time required to enjoy it (the battery lasts about two hours). But I think the real opportunity lies in the future. If this is Vision ‘Pro’, what does Vision look like? And could it be at a price ordinary people might afford?
Richard Hayter, group creative director, Iris
Ultimately, the future of AR/VR marketing with the Vision Pro lies in pushing the boundaries of traditional strategies. By integrating immersive AR/VR experiences with existing platforms and offering new ways to interact with digital content, marketers can create campaigns that generate excitement and drive engagement.
Contrary to what the Ray Kurzweils and AI influencers of the world would have you believe, the future is not yet fully actualised. However, one thing we do know for certain is that Apple seldom gets it wrong.
The Vision Pro is not just any old headset, it’s an invitation for marketers to explore spatial computing, and could just be the next big thing to shake up the advertising landscape as we know it.