As the launch day for Apple’s Vision Pro headset draws near, potential customers are offered a unique opportunity to experience the product first-hand in stores. However, this process, as detailed in Bloomberg’s Power On newsletter by Mark Gurman, is not as straightforward as one might expect.
The In-Store Experience for Vision Pro
- Face Scans and Custom Assembly: Every customer interested in a demo will undergo face scans. This is necessary for assembling a custom Vision Pro, ensuring a perfect fit with multiple sizing options for the light seal, foam cushion, and band.
- Prescription Lens Scanning: Apple employees will scan customers’ glasses to find the right prescription lenses for the Vision Pro, with stores keeping hundreds of lenses ready for demos.
- Demo Procedure: The demonstration includes showing normal, panorama, and spatial photos, videos, immersive experiences, and a preview of using Vision Pro as a computer. Sign-ups for these demos start at 8 AM local time on February 2.
Purchasing the Vision Pro
The process for purchasing the Vision Pro is simpler compared to the demo experience. It involves necessary face scans and assembly of the correct pieces, which will be boxed up for immediate purchase. There will also be display-only units in each store for those who just want a look.
Unique Aspects of the Vision Pro Experience
- Duration and Content of the Demo: The demo, lasting up to 25 minutes, involves viewing various types of content, including 3D spatial photos and videos, and exploring third-party apps.
- Comfort and Accessories: Apple has developed a more comfortable strap following complaints about discomfort. Belkin is also offering an accessory clip for the battery pack. However, the comfortable strap will not be available during the demos.
Inventory and Demand Expectations
- Inventory Challenges: Apple stores are advised to allocate about twice as much inventory space during the first weekend compared to subsequent ones. Supply chain rumors suggest a limited number of units at launch, with only 80,000 units initially and half a million for all of 2024.
- Market Demand: The demand for the Vision Pro might be affected by the general reluctance towards AR/VR headsets and the high price point. Apple, however, is planning to expand its Vision headset line with a cheaper version and eventually AR glasses resembling normal glasses.
Competition in the AR Space
- Meta’s Pursuit of AR Glasses: Meta is actively pursuing AR glasses through its partnership with Ray-Ban.
- Emerging Competitors: Companies like Xreal are also entering the market, as seen with the release of the Air 2 Ultra AR glasses priced at $699, primarily targeting developers.
Customer Engagement and Sales Strategy
Apple’s approach to introducing the Vision Pro in stores reflects a deep understanding of customer engagement. By offering personalized demonstrations, Apple ensures that each user has a comprehensive understanding of the product’s capabilities. This strategy not only enhances customer experience but also serves as a critical sales tool, showcasing the unique features of the Vision Pro in a controlled environment.
Technical Innovations and User Experience
- Advanced Customization: The Vision Pro’s face scan technology for custom fitting demonstrates Apple’s focus on personalization and comfort.
- Immersive Demonstrations: The in-store demos, featuring a range of content from spatial videos to immersive experiences, highlight the headset’s advanced capabilities.
- Ease of Use: Instructions on device usage, including guidance on handling and navigating the interface, emphasize user-friendliness.
The launch of Apple’s Vision Pro headset marks a significant step in AR/VR technology, offering a unique in-store experience for customers. While the process involves several steps like face scans and custom assembly, it aims to provide a tailored and immersive experience. Despite facing competition and market challenges, Apple is set to expand its footprint in the AR space. For more details on the Vision Pro and its features, visit Apple’s official website.