Apple aims to launch Vision Pro AR headset by Feb 2024, ramps up production

Apple aims to launch Vision Pro AR headset by Feb 2024, ramps up production

Apple aims to launch Vision Pro AR headset by Feb 2024, ramps up production

Apple Inc. is reportedly ramping up the production for its highly anticipated Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, with insiders revealing plans for a launch as early as February, as per a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Gurman reports that sources familiar with the matter disclosed that production is in full swing at facilities in China, having commenced several weeks ago.

The objective is to have customer-ready units by the end of January, setting the stage for retail availability in the subsequent month.

The company has recently reached out to software developers, urging them to prepare for the Vision Pro by testing their applications with the latest tools and submitting software for feedback—a clear indication of an imminent release.

The rollout of the Vision Pro marks Apple’s entry into a new product category since the debut of smartwatches in 2015. A departure from its traditional offerings, the mixed-reality headset melds virtual and augmented reality, a space currently led by Meta Platforms Inc.

Apple aims to make a compelling introduction to consumers, emphasizing an immersive retail experience and introducing entirely new sales strategies and equipment.

The Vision Pro, priced at $3,500, represents a significant investment for consumers, and Apple is undertaking measures to ensure a positive first impression.

Retail stores are being prepared to accommodate inventory and new fixtures specifically designed for the headset. In addition to the headsets, stores will stock accessories such as head straps, light seals, and prescription lenses, necessitating additional storage space.

Apple’s ambitious launch requires extensive employee training, with at least two staff members from each retail outlet scheduled to undergo a two-day training session at the company’s headquarters in January. These trained employees will subsequently manage sales at their respective stores and educate their peers on marketing the Vision Pro.

The training sessions will cover the functionality of the Vision Pro, focusing on attaching the headband, optional prescription lenses, and the light seal. Employees will also learn new etiquette, such as fitting cushions around the face to ensure customer comfort.

Apple plans to introduce an app that can scan customers’ heads to determine the appropriate band and light seal, with retail employees tasked with confirming the app’s recommendations during sales.

Unlike the Apple Watch launch, which involved two media events prior to release, the Vision Pro’s release is expected to be more subdued. After unveiling the product at its developers conference in June, Apple is likely to highlight additional features on its website.

Despite the headset’s potential, challenges include its high price, limited initial availability in the U.S., a two-hour battery life, and concerns about the product’s weight.

Apple is also addressing production complexities, given the device’s intricate components, including ultrahigh-resolution displays, processors, and multiple external cameras.

The Vision Pro is just the beginning of Apple’s foray into mixed-reality products, with plans for more comfortable and cost-effective models already in development. Apple aims to target corporate customers and schools, mirroring its successful approach with the Apple Watch and wristwatches.

The company is also actively working on the next version of the headset’s operating system, visionOS, expected to launch later in 2024, alongside operating systems for other major Apple devices. In a note to developers, Apple expressed excitement about the future and the continuous evolution of its mixed-reality offerings.