Prototyping is a fundamental tool that addresses the limitations of hardware devices, enabling manufacturers to refine various aspects of their products throughout the product management lifecycle.

The recent launch of Apple‘s Vision Pro AR headset, following the failure of Google Glass, highlights the growing importance of fidelity prototyping in ensuring successful market reception.

Learning from Google Glass

The failure of Google Glass, which cost the company $895 million, serves as a valuable lesson on the importance of prototyping. The limited field of view, uncomfortable design, and lack of seamless integration with existing ecosystems contributed to its unsuccessful reception.

By analysing the shortcomings of Google Glass, Apple can proactively address similar challenges with its Vision Pro.

Iterative prototyping

Fidelity prototyping empowers manufacturers to experiment with form factors, materials, weight distribution, and ergonomics, to help them overcome any potential drawbacks. By creating iterative prototypes, manufacturers can test and refine Vision Pro’s features based on user feedback, ensuring that subsequent versions meet or exceed user expectations. This iterative process allows for continuous testing, reducing waste and enhancing the overall development lifecycle.

Continuous experimentation with new features and functionalities—such as a wider field of view (FoV), higher-resolution displays, enhanced gesture recognition, longer battery life, and integration of biometric sensors—allows Vision Pro to deliver what Apple hopes will be an immersive and personalised AR experience.

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Validation and verification of each feature set that is being added to VisionOS of Vision Pro plays an equally important role to analyse a variety of key customer metrics and general user perceptions of the product.

Analyzing the product market fit and establishing a clear set of specification requirements based on the target audience is key for product success in the long term. The future iterations of Vision Pro would require extensive prototyping and efficient product development life cycles, to include only the key feature set that interests the average buyer at a lower price point.

Agile product management for successful XR headsets

By leveraging fidelity prototyping, Apple can address initial drawbacks, refine the user experience, and make incremental improvements to Vision Pro through continuous testing with early adopters and test users.

Agile product management principles such as user-centric design, cross-functional collaboration, and iterative development could play a crucial role in the market success of AR headsets like Vision Pro. By adopting Agile methodologies, manufacturers can respond quickly to market changes, user feedback, and emerging technologies. Continuous user feedback is critical for improving FoV in mixed-reality headsets. Agile practices emphasise regular user testing sessions, enabling the collection of feedback on the perceived FoV and the identification of areas for improvement.

Test-drive development or acceptance test-driven development can be employed to ensure that battery life optimisation features are rigorously tested against predefined criteria. Agile practices and methodologies including small iterations and rapid prototyping foster efficient and effective development, resulting in mixed-reality headsets that offer enhanced user experience and meet the evolving needs of the market.