Mobile World Live brings you our top three picks of the week, with the Vision Pro launched in US, generative AI (GenAI) coming to your smartphone and Vodafone Idea gasping for air in India.
Apple Vision Pro hits US market
What happened: Apple launched its highly-anticipated Vision Pro headset in the US alongside 600 apps designed specifically for the device, marking the beginning of what the company claims is the spatial computing era.
Why it matters: Apple’s first-generation AR headset, which the company positions as a spatial computer, resembles ski goggles and costs $3,500. While some analysts say the price point will be a hurdle, others believe it has the potential to be a game changer by making many activities and jobs more efficient. Founder of PP Foresight Paolo Pescatore suggested the US launch provides a much-needed boost and is expected to reignite interest in the XR market, adding “If anyone can kickstart demand for this segment, then Apple can”.
Gartner bullish on GenAI smartphone bump
What happened: Gartner forecast smartphones equipped with GenAI capabilities would account for 22 per cent of models shipped in 2024, but cautioned the technology would not boost overall demand until 2027.
Why it matters: The research outfit highlighted Google’s Gemini Nano, Baidu’s Ernie and Open AI’s GPT-4 as examples of GenAI already featured on smartphones by Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Honor and others. Pescatore stated Samsung’s deal to use Google’s AI platform in its Galaxy S24 series “potentially could be the start of a new era for smartphones, representing a key super cycle for Samsung and all”.
Can debt-laden Vodafone Idea recover?
What happened: Vodafone Idea lost nearly half its subscribers over the past five years and registered another net loss in fiscal Q3, raising new questions about its chances of attracting funding and recovering.
Why it matters: Its interest and financing costs totalling IDR64.9 billion ($782.2 million) alone represent 61 per cent of total revenue, with Goldman Sachs estimating it requires new capital of at least $8 billion to improve its competitive positioning. Even if it can line up funding or the government steps in, the operator faces an uphill battle to quickly rollout a nationwide 5G network, more than a year after rivals, and attract new customers without undercutting prices.