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Apple Vision Pro: The Real Costs

Yes, I bought an Apple Vision Pro. I woke up on January 19 to place my preorder and picked it up last Friday, February 2. Many people were shocked when I said I was going to buy one because of the astronomical list price. What I didn’t really say but I’ll share with you is that the actual cost of the device is significantly more than that once you add in all the necessary accessories.

Apple Vision Pro with accessories

Vision Pro: $3500-$3900 (or more)

The Vision Pro is listed at $3499.* However, as with all things Apple (all things electronic, really), that price is for the base model. The base model has 256GB of storage, which is the only thing you can upgrade. Between movies, pictures, files, et cetera, you might want to increase the storage option which maxes out at 1 Terabyte at $3899.

So, how could it cost more than maxing out the only option? If you wear glasses, you’ll probably want the optical inserts. They’re $99 or $149 each for readers or prescription inserts. If you intend to use the unit for an extended period of time and don’t wear contacts, you’ll want the inserts so that you don’t have your glasses pressed against your temples.

So, don’t be surprised if you’re shelling out $4000 for yours.

Carrying Case: $200

Once you’ve spent 4 Grand for a very delicate and awkwardly shaped device, you’re going to need something to carry it around in. Even if you aren’t going to travel with it, you need somewhere besides the box it came in—although it’s a very nice box indeed.

The Apple-designed carrying case comes in at $200 (ok, technically, $199). There’s another case by a company called Spigen for $89 but theirs sold out quickly. 

Headphones: $130-$250

Speaking of travel, one of the reasons you want a Vision Pro is to be able to use it to expand your virtual screen real estate while traveling.  So, for example, while flying, you can pop on your Vision Pro and have all the screen space you need without worrying about the person in the seat in front of you crushing your laptop lid.  With all that space, you can edit a document, check resources on the web, and watch a movie.

However, if you choose to watch the movie, you’ll likely be disturbing the people around you because the speakers are open to the world.  That is, they project sound toward your ears like directional speakers.

So, to watch a movie or play music or listen to any other audio without disturbing others, you need to buy Bluetooth headphones.  Regular Bluetooth headphones should work.  However, as with most Apple accessories, AirPods just do work.  Hold them close to your Apple device and you get a notice asking if you want to pair.  If they’re already paired to another device on your iCloud account, hold them close to your Vision Pro and it will pair automatically.

There are three options for AirPods.  You can take a look at the side-by-side comparison on the Apple website.  The least expensive is $129 and the most expensive is $249.  You could also consider the over-the-ear AirPod Max for $549, but I’m going to assume that you aren’t.

Keyboard: $100

Lastly, the Apple Vision Pro is a productivity tool, although it has been incorrectly (or incompletely) described as a VR headset.  Think of it as being able to use multiple iPads of different sizes arranged around you at the same time.  The problem is that the virtual keyboard on the Vision Pro is not as mature as the iPad keyboard and it requires you to point and type very slowly.

In order to actually be productive, you really need a physical keyboard.  Again, any modern Apple-compatible keyboard should work, but the Apple keyboards do work.  The basic Apple keyboard is $100 and other brands can be found for significantly less.  I don’t recommend any trackpads or mouse options.

One unfortunate thing about the Apple keyboard is that it is kind of big and doesn’t fit in the carrying case. Even the small one is too big for the case. You might want to opt for a folding keyboard not made by Apple. The added benefit is that they are cheaper since they aren’t make by Apple.

Total: $4450 + tax

There you have it.  The $3500 Apple Vision Pro is really a $4500 system if you buy all the Apple accessories.  You probably can get it with other brand accessories for $3800.

“Girl Math” justification:  Hey!  That’s less than a Mac Studio with a Studio Display and it’s portable.

Reality Check:  It’s also not yet as versatile a computing platform as the Mac Studio but more like a really powerful, iPad with a virtual display.

Whatever you decide, before you head you to the store, I just want you to know that if you want it to be useful beyond watching 3D or immersive movies at home and surfing the web, you’re going to need some extra cash.  Fortunately, you have some time to think about it.  Last I heard, the Vision Pro has been in such demand that it is on a two-month shipping schedule.

* No, I don’t get a commission if you click the link to buy from Apple.

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