Wear glasses? Apple's already expensive Vision Pro headset will cost you even more

Apple Vision Pro starts at $3,499 for just the headset, but if you need prescription lenses it's going to cost you even more.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Have you seen Apple's latest product, Vision Pro? It's a mixed reality headset that uses eye and hand tracking for navigation and interaction, has a fancy 3D camera for taking 3D pictures and videos you can watch in the headset, and even creates a FaceTime avatar of you for use in video calls. 

There is a ton of technology in the headset. It's powered by Apple's M2 processor, a new R1 processor, numerous cameras, sensors, and microphones; not to mention a custom micro-OLED display with over 23 million pixels. All of that tech, and the fact that it's a first-generation device, is part of the reason behind the headset's $3,499 price tag. Well, technically the price starts at $3,499. 

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It's not clear if Apple is going to sell multiple models with more storage or extra battery packs, but I do know that there will be at least one factor that increases the starting price of Vision Pro for many of us: Prescription lenses. The fine print on the press release -- and on the Vision Pro page on Apple's site -- spell out that you'll need to pay more for the prescription lenses.

That's right. If you're like me and wear glasses, you'll need to purchase special lenses for Vision Pro in order to use the headset.

The lenses will be made by ZEISS Optical, according to Apple. The inserts, as Apple calls them, will attach magnetically to the inside of the headset.

Those inserts, of course, will need to work with the eye-tracking sensors and the iris scanner for unlocking the headset, all without taking away from the picture quality or distorting any of the images. 

Also: The 4 best AR glasses: Pro-level AR and XR headsets

Like the headset, the lenses won't be cheap. I've asked Apple for more details about lenses and overall cost, but haven't heard back yet. And I'm guessing I won't hear anything about the cost of lenses until Vision Pro is actually shipping to customers, or perhaps once the developer kits are made available later this year.

My gut tells me that the prescription lenses are going to be $500, if not more. I know you can get lenses for Snap's Spectacles or your regular glasses for under $300, but, again, these aren't regular lenses. 

And if that's the case, the cost -- before taxes -- for Vision Pro will sit right at $4,000. Ouch. 

Also: Every hardware product Apple announced at WWDC 

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