Big Tech in China Developing Smart Glasses

Innovation in the Tech Industry: A Look at Smart Glasses Development

In recent years, there has been a notion online that Apple’s innovation capability is declining, along with its ability to drive the industry forward. This has led domestic smartphone manufacturers in China to step up their game in developing unique features. For example, this year, several top Chinese manufacturers will equip their flagship devices with satellite communication capabilities, a feature that is unlikely to be present in the Chinese version of the iPhone 16. But does this mean Apple has lost its ability to innovate and propel industry development, as some online discussions suggest?

Certainly not. Apple always aims to excel when it enters the market. The Vision Pro is a prime example of this. Despite some industry giants like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg expressing doubts about Vision Pro, the product has already reached a point where demand exceeds supply due to its appeal to the general users.

Prominent Chinese leakers hinted that major Chinese smartphone manufacturers are working on developing smart glasses similar to Apple’s Vision Pro.

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Although not explicitly mentioned, it is clear that only a few familiar companies in China qualify as major smartphone manufacturers. Huawei has been rumored to be developing Vision glasses. Other potential contenders could include Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and Honor. The question now is how their products and capabilities stack up against Apple’s Vision Pro.

While smart glasses are not entirely novel, reaching the level of Apple’s Vision Pro is quite challenging. Firstly, the initial production volume is expected to be low (at least for the first generation), leading to high component procurement costs. This, in turn, will raise other costs such as design, manufacturing, labor, and ecosystem development. Even for a supply chain powerhouse like Apple, making the first generation of Vision Pro profitable is a challenge. Whether Chinese manufacturers can bear the high initial costs remains to be seen.

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The most significant challenge lies not in hardware costs but in rapidly advancing software ecosystems. If users find a lack of compelling content after purchasing the product out of interest initially, they may end up leaving the product idle. This could create a perception of the product being “no good,” making it much more expensive to rekindle their interest.

Another crucial aspect is pricing. Apple’s Vision Pro can command such high prices due to its high technological content and brand premium. Even selling at such a high price, Apple is still not making a profit. Conversely, Chinese manufacturers developing smart glasses following Apple’s footsteps are unlikely to price their products as high. To balance costs, they may have to rely on volume sales, which could potentially compromise the technological content compared to Apple’s Vision Pro. Balancing user attraction with a reasonable price tag poses a significant challenge.

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If a large number of domestic smart glasses flood the market in the future, do you think they can outperform Apple’s Vision Pro?

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