After years of delays, Apple Vision Pro pre-orders are just a few days away. It's been a long and winding road to get to this point, and the nature of headphones has been changed by numerous rumours, both true and false.
Because of all that, this is a good time to break down exactly what you can (and can't) expect from Apple's most ambitious new product in many years.
Apple more or less showed off what it finally came up with at WWDC in June, and I got some hands-on time with it at the time, but I still have a lot of questions. Fortunately, some relevant details have since been clarified.
The Vision Pro is a real gamble for Apple, and its launch will be unusual. There will likely be relatively few units available on launch day, at least compared to the company's other products. Apple knows that a first-generation product that starts at $3,499 won't sell as quickly as the new iPhone model — not even close.
Until the full review, I won't know for sure who to recommend. But if you're on the fence about being bold enough to pre-order before the reviews arrive, treat this as a cheat sheet for the next couple of weeks.
Launch (and price)
Pre-orders online Begins On January 19 at 5 a.m. PT. February 2 is the day the device will start arriving at the doorsteps of those who pre-ordered, and it is also the day the device will start becoming available at all Apple Store locations in the US. It's important to clarify that the Vision Pro will launch in the US first; Other major areas are expected later in the year.
The basic configuration of the Vision Pro will cost a whopping $3,499, which is significantly more than VR or AR headsets we've seen in the past. However, there's a lot more going on with the Vision Pros than those headsets. Apple has been careful not to call this headset a VR or AR headset at all; Instead, the company calls it a “spatial computing” device as a way to differentiate it from its predecessors.
It was reportedly Apple Giving retail employees Intensive training on the special process of selling the device in stores. Expect things like fitting consultations, prescription lenses, etc. — similar to what I experienced when attending the device demo at WWDC. All of this will be followed by a 25-minute demo, according to initial reports. Signups for demos begin at 8 a.m. on launch day.
When I tried the device, Apple asked me about my eyeglass prescription and vision, used a 3D scan to measure my head, and more. Those who order online will be able to do all this remotely, provided they have a recent iPhone or iPad equipped with a TrueDepth sensor array. Apple used an iPhone when it took these readings in person in a demo in June.
There isn't enough room inside the Vision Pro for most people's glasses, so you'll have the option of purchasing corrective lenses as custom inserts for the device. Fortunately, these aren't quite as expensive as many of us initially feared: the standard price is $150, while reading lenses cost just $100. This still wasn't cheap, but it was easy to imagine worse.
Supply chain analysts have come out and said they expect supply to be well below demand, so the initial supply will likely sell out quickly, with potentially long waits for new orders after that. We've seen similar things happen with other Apple product launches like the iPhone and MacBook Pro models before.
But the situation could be worse; Initial reports expected hundreds of thousands of units, but respected supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said He said recently It is believed that Apple will produce only between 60,000 and 80,000 units at launch. Obviously demand will be dampened by very high prices, but it wouldn't be hard to imagine it being greater than this relatively small number, so expect a delay.
However, there may be a limit to the number of people willing to spend that amount to purchase a first-generation device. Therefore, after the initial rush from enthusiasts and aspiring developers, demand may taper off relatively quickly, with supply plentiful in subsequent months. You never know for sure, though.
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