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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Korea, stronghold of Samsung, left out of Apple Vision Pro’s overseas rollout

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Korea was again excluded from the list of countries that will receive Apple’s Vision Pro.

Apple announced Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that its $3,499 mixed reality headset will roll out in China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Britain this June and July, with preorders starting this month.

The headset first launched in February and has only been available in the United States in the five months since.

Korea was widely expected to be included in the first group of countries to receive the Vision Pro, having shown much enthusiasm towards the new form factor after its debut.

Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the annual developer conference event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., June 10, 2024. [REUTERS]

The device was frequently spotted on Korea’s secondhand market with a premium as high as $1,800 added to its sticker price. Online and offline communities formed to share the device and discuss experiences.

But the decision is not a complete surprise.

Korea has almost always been in the second or third batch of nations to receive the iPhone due to its status as the home turf of Samsung Electronics, one of Apple’s biggest rivals. The strict approval process required to sell electronic devices in Korea, which has historically butted heads with Apple’s security standards, has also factored in.

Korea was in the third tier of the iPhone 15’s rollout last year, receiving it three weeks after first-tier countries did.

Despite fans’ explosive response to the Vision Pro’s initial launch, Apple reportedly slashed its shipment forecast in April due to lower-than-expected demand.

Perhaps hoping to counter the recent waning sales, Apple announced Vision OS 2, the updated version of its own operating system that powers the mixed reality headset, at WWDC24. The rollout brings improvements to the Vision OS interface including new gestures, mouse support and an ultrawide virtual display feature.

The company also announced Apple Intelligence, a suite of AI features rolling out across its devices, at its annual developer conference in Cupertino, California on Monday.

The American tech giant said it will deploy AI-powered rewriting, proofreading and summarizing functions to its devices. It has also joined forces with OpenAI to utilize the ChatGPT models to upgrade features of its voice assistant Siri.

Apple shares closed down 2 percent on Monday following the keynote.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]