It’s time for AR aficionados to start saving, if you haven’t been already, because Apple is getting everything ready to launch the Apple Vision Pro headset in February according to a new report. This follows rumors that it might be delayed until March.
Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg (article behind a paywall) that if things go according to plan, the first wave of consumer units will be ready to ship at the end of January, with a retail release planned for February – sticking to the “early” 2024 release window Apple gave during WWDC 2023 when the headset was unveiled.
It’s apparently not just the product that’s being prepared for an upcoming launch. The report adds that developers creating mixed reality software have recently been told to “get ready” for the Vision Pro, and in January at least two staff members from every US Apple Store branch are supposedly heading to its headquarters for training.
The training is to help them understand the complex Apple gadget. The headset has a lot of customizable components that need to be calibrated and boxed up in-store (online purchases supposedly won't be available) when someone buys one. If there are any problems with the process, potential buyers may walk out the door, or even take home and unbox a subpar experience – something completely unacceptable for a gadget that starts at $3,499 per headset (around £2,800 / AU$5,300).
But even if the Vision Pro does materialize on shelves in February 2024 you’re unlikely to actually get your hands on one.
A February launch for the lucky few
Not simply because the Apple mixed reality headset is priced out of most people’s budgets, but because Apple won’t have many available.
According to rumors, Apple is only expected to produce 150,000 headsets in 2024. This lack of availability may be why the device will only be sold in the US at launch. And that 150,000 figure is for the whole of 2024; far fewer devices would be available on its release date – so even if you live in the US there’s a good chance you still won’t see one for a while.
That is, unless the gadget is wildly unpopular.
While this seems almost impossible for an Apple product, a combination of price and novelty may put people off – even the company’s most rabid fans. What’s more, the headset is certainly the best VR headset ever made from a raw hardware perspective, but Apple has yet to show off software that puts these specs to use in ways that the far cheaper Meta Quest 3 can’t – even its iPhone 15 Pro’s spatial video can play on Quest hardware.
It also has some frankly ridiculous problems such as a measly two-hour battery life and (according to some people who have tried it) an uncomfortable design. As I said above, with a $3,499 price tag there isn’t any wiggle room – it has to be perfect.
All that said, I’m fully expecting the Apple Vision Pro to be perpetually sold out. This will be Apple’s first new product line in a while, and even if it does wind up being an overpriced folly, Apple collectors will desperately want to get their hands on this piece of tech history.
So if you want to get your hands on one, be ready to book an appointment and head to your local Apple Store as soon as you can. Otherwise, you might have to wait for the Vison Pro's successor to get your hands on an Apple VR headset.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.