Apple is planning to roll out its $3,500 Vision Pro headset gradually, starting in the US with appointments for demos in designated Apple Store areas, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The gradual rollout is in line with the "niche and complex nature" of the mixed reality headset, and resembles what Apple originally did with the Watch when it launched in 2015.
Apple will require appointments to try and buy the Vision Pro, much as it did with the Apple Watch, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It will also ask potential buyers to provide their eyeglass prescriptions. Special areas will be created in stores that offer demo Vision Pro devices, seating and tools to size accessories.
The primary aim is to make sure that customers leave with a headset that fits correctly and gives them a clear view. It has even developed an iPhone app and physical machine that will scan your head to ensure a tight seal that keeps light out. Apple may also be working on a second strap that will make the headset more comfortable for people with smaller heads.
Vision Pro demo spaces will only be available at Stores in major US markets like New York and Los Angeles to start with, before eventually rolling out across the US. It will come to other countries at the end of 2024, possible starting with the UK and Canada, followed by Europe and Asia soon after.
The Vision Pro is Apple's most important product in years, but also one of the most complex devices it has ever built. It's also much more expensive than other consumer VR headsets. To that end, Apple is no doubt counting on the Vision Pro to get mainstream consumers excited about the idea of mixed reality.
In our hands-on preview, we found that the device delivered an awesome experience, offering an "unparalleled sense of immersion, with displays sharp enough to read text on websites, plus an intuitive gesture-based user interface," according to Engadet's Devindra Hardawar. He also had concerns, though, about the solitary nature of using mixed reality headsets, particularly for socially-oriented activities like movie watching.
Apple has reportedly had manufacturing issues as well, and only expected to sell a 900,000 units in the headset's first year. However, even that modest target has reportedly been slashed by over half to 400,000 units due to the tiny and costly OLED displays, the Financial Times reported yesterday.