Apple Confirms Launch of Vision Pro in China

Since its launch on February 2nd this year, the Apple Vision Pro has only been available in the United States. But this is all about to change. Apple has now revealed plans for an international release, including mainland China. 

China is obviously a huge market, but it’s one that Meta cannot break. Blocks from the Chinese government prevent Meta from launching the Quest, and so far, TikTok’s founders, ByteDance have been a leader in this market with its Pico range. 

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has recently visited the China Development Forum in Beijing and confirmed that Vision Pro will receive a Chinese launch later this year. 

The exact date is yet to be determined. Let’s take a look at the context behind Apple’s China launch. 

Apple Added 12 New Languages to Vision Pro

A month after the Apple Vision Pro was launched, it was announced that 12 new languages would be added, including Simplified Chinese. The addition of these languages indicated that Apple was looking to enter these new markets. 

The new languages added are: 

  • Cantonese, Traditional
  • Chinese, Simplified
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Canada)
  • English (Japan)
  • English (Singapore)
  • English (UK)
  • French (Canada)
  • French (France)
  • German (Germany)
  • Japanese
  • Korean

This news was shared by MacRumors who found code within the 1.1 VisionOS update. 

Apple Could Reach Areas Where Meta Cannot

The Chinese government currently blocks all Meta products. This stems from a ban on Facebook dating back to 2009 when riots broke out in Xinjiang. At the time, the Chinese government blocked access to Facebook to prevent independence activists from communicating on the platform. 

The ban also covered Twitter (now known as X) and Google services. The list of banned platforms has expanded over the years. However, with a historically large global reach, Facebook has always been one of the most notable absences. 

And this absence has contributed to ByteDance’s global rise which started in China. With 1.4 billion people living in China, this represents a big percentage of the world’s population that Meta can never reach. 

Recently, Meta has tried to strike a deal with Tencent. The deal would have seen Tencent taking control of the content and supplying a cheaper version of the Quest 3 in China. This would give Meta the prime share of device sales while circumnavigating any Chinese restrictions. 

But after around a year of talks, the Meta-Tencent deal stalled, putting Meta’s hopes of entering the Chinese market on hold. 

But despite the lack of Western social media platforms in China, Apple has continued to sell products like the iPhone in China. 

Apple’s VisionOS Gets New Languages

Speculation about a Chinese launch first started after MacRumors reported the inclusion of Simplified Chinese in a recent VisionOS update. 

Of course, as with any device, there needs to support lots of local languages if the Vision Pro is ever to reach a global audience. 

However, the languages added indicated that releases were likely in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Simplified Chinese isn’t just used in mainland China; it is also commonly spoken in Singapore and Malaysia. Traditional Chinese script is common in Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong. 

Now, with the news that Apple CEO Tim Cook has travelled to China to discuss the Vision Pro’s release, the speculation is over. 

The Vision Pro Could Get a ByteDance Competitor

As Apple enters the Chinese mixed reality market, it’s likely that it will find new competitors. ByteDance subsidiary Pico Interactive had been working on the Pico 5 headset. This headset has been scrapped, and Pico has turned its attention toward creating a headset that will compete more directly with the Vision Pro. 

Apple Increases Vision Pro Production

Leading up to the launch of the Vision Pro, Apple’s production had hit a few speed bumps. This led to fewer numbers being available at launch and a backlog of unfulfilled pre-orders. 

The delays were due to the production of the near-4K OLED microdisplays and the general complexity of the headsets. 

According to independent tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who frequently provides accurate information on Apple’s supply chain, production of the Vision Pro is being increased following a successful US launch. 

Kuo reports that “several small-capacity suppliers have expanded production from 500,000–600,000 units to 700,000–800,000 units this year”. This prediction indicates that Apple will be ready to roll out to more countries, potentially ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this June.

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