For anyone who wants to try the Apple Vision Pro when it’s officially released on February 2nd, there’s going to be a whole procedure. We knew that, but now a report in Mark Gurman’s latest Power On newsletter for Bloomberg sheds light on how the in-store demos for the Vision Pro will work.
According to Gurman, the process will start with an Apple Store employee scanning users’ faces to pick out the light seal for Apple’s headset — a process he likens to configuring Face ID. For those who need vision correction, Apple will reportedly also scan their lenses with a special device to suss out the prescription. Then an employee fits a Vision Pro with one of “hundreds” of on-hand lenses and a seal and tells you how to use the device (including, apparently, how to hold it).
The demo that follows, Gurman says, will last for up to 25 minutes. It will reportedly involve viewing photos and videos (including the 3D “spatial” kind that you can take with the iPhone 15 Pro), using the Vision Pro as a computer or iPad replacement, and checking out third-party apps.
The process is a lot, though it won’t be necessary for purchase. Apple will apparently also sell the headset online. Users will still need to scan their faces with an iPhone or an iPad to get the right head strap, and they’ll need their vision prescription at the ready for the $149 optical inserts.
Gurman writes that Apple has also made a second, more comfortable strap for the headset after complaints that it’s uncomfortable after just 30 minutes of use, although he says this strap won’t be present at the demos. In addition, Belkin will have an accessory clip for the battery pack that lives outside Apple’s headset, according to the article.
Apple reportedly doesn’t expect demand to hold for the Vision Pro, and has told its stores that they’ll need “about twice as much inventory space” during the first weekend than the following ones. A recent supply chain rumor said that Apple only has up to 80,000 of them coming at launch, plus just half a million for all of 2024.
Such low numbers might not do demand for the Vision Pro any more favors than the basic problem of getting people to want an AR / VR headset in the first place. People are already less likely to use one out in a coffee shop. But even if you did see someone doing so, asking a stranger if you can check out their $3,500 head computer is very different from asking if you can toy with their iPhone — they don’t want to let you, and you probably don’t want to anyway. And most people aren’t going to buy one of these without trying it first.
But Apple has plans for its Vision headset line. Rumors have said it means to release a second, cheaper version of the headset. And eventually, the company is expected to make a set of AR glasses that look like normal glasses, at least eventually, when it gets over technical humps. Meanwhile, Meta has aggressively pursued AR glasses with its Ray-Bans partnership, and Xreal just unveiled its $699 Air 2 Ultra AR glasses that are mainly aimed at developers but show that Apple’s potential competition in the space isn’t exactly resting on its laurels.