It looks like Apple has taken a virtual reality check: according to a new report it has reduced its sales expectations for the Vision Pro dramatically downwards. The headset was initially expected to sell many millions of units, but Apple would now be happy with half a million. It seems that for now, Apple is okay with having the best VR headset even if it won't immediately be a best-seller.
That's according to the latest Power On newsletter from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who reports that Apple's initial sales expectations were in the high single-digit millions, but have since been revised downwards multiple times to around 400,000 or 500,000 units in the first year.
That's considerably less than Sony's PSVR 2, which had sold around 600,000 headsets within six weeks of launch. But then, Sony's headset doesn't cost three and a half grand.
Slow and steady wins the on-your-face race
According to Gurman, Apple is taking it easy with the Vision Pro rollout. Apple is expected to release the Vision Pro in early 2024 in the US, and while you’ll be able to order one online Apple would much rather see you face to face. That’s because Apple will be creating “Vision Pro experiences” in its stores and using face-scanning apps to try and sell you more stuff over and above the headset itself. The experience zones will come to major metropolitan areas first.
The other reason for Apple wanting to see you in person is because there’s a lot of personalisation here that just doesn’t apply to iPhones or iPads. There’s the light seal, which comes in different sizes, and for some users there are also the add-on prescription lenses so you can see the screens properly. By assessing these things in-store Apple can ensure that customers get what they need straight away while also minimising the risk of product returns.
There’s no indication of when the Vision Pro will go on sale in other countries beyond “later next year”; Apple is clearly using the US as a testing ground to see how well the Vision Pro will sell and to tweak its approach when the headset launches in other markets.