news

Apple Vision Pro to sell in China, Japan and Singapore by end of this month in first debut outside the U.S.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
  • The headset will start at its highest asking price in China, where it will host apps from local developers, including Chinese tech giants like Tencent and ByteDance.
  • The entrance into international markets comes earlier than expected and could signal weak demand in the U.S., according to an analyst.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it will launch its flagship virtual reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore on June 28.

STAY IN THE KNOW

icon

Watch NBC10 Boston news for free, 24/7, wherever you are.

icon

Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.

The Asian markets represent the gadget's debut outside of the United States, with pre-orders beginning on Friday.

The VR headset first became available for purchase in the U.S. four months ago, with a starting price of $3,499. The Vision Pro will sell for its highest asking price in China, one of Apple's most vital markets, with a base cost of 29,999 yuan ($4,190). 

In the country, Apple will need to navigate the government's tight regulations on content. Apps popular on the Vision Pro in the U.S. such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are unavailable in China. 

Instead, the American tech giant said Tuesday that local developers and internet companies in China will launch new apps and games for the Apple Vision Pro. That includes Chinese tech giant Tencent, which will provide its video streaming app Tencent Video, and ByteDance, which will launch a VR version of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. 

Apple will also need to compete with local rivals working on VR technologies, such as Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Oppo.

But there have already been some indications of demand for the Vision Pro in China, with a gray market for the headset sprouting. According to a CNBC search on the Alibaba-owned online flea market app Xianyu, Vision Pros are selling for up to double their official price. 

"The enthusiasm for Apple Vision Pro has been extraordinary, and we are thrilled to introduce the magic of spatial computing to more customers around the world," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the Tuesday statement. 

Still, the company's announcement comes amid reports of waning demand for the Vision Pro in the U.S. 

Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst at TF International Securities, reported in April that Apple had cut Vision Pro production due to low demand. 

"The Vision Pro's move to international markets is ahead of industry expectations and appears to be an attempt to drive sales amid lower-than-expected demand due to its niche use case and hefty price tag," said Le Xuan Chiew, a Canalys analyst focusing on Apple strategy research. 

Apple said the Vision Pro will also open to pre-orders for Germany, France, Australia, the U.K. and Canada on June 28, with the headsets set to become available on July 12.

The latest iteration of Apple's OS for its Vision Pro, VisionOS 2, was also announced on Tuesday. The update comes with new features and AI integrations, with the headset now compatible with 2,000 apps.

Copyright CNBC
Contact Us