Here’s When Apple Vision Pro Officially Comes Out in the U.S.
Apple’s next big thing is only four weeks away.
We can all finally stop wondering when Apple Vision Pro will come out. Apple announced this morning its $3,499 “spatial computer” headset will launch in the U.S. on February 2. Pre-orders start on January 19 at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT. Also confirmed: Apple Vision Pro ships with 256GB of storage.
Per Apple’s press release, Apple Vision Pro will be available “at all U.S. Apple Store locations and U.S. Apple Store online.”
We also have new information on what comes in the box with Apple Vision Pro: two bands (a “Solo Knit Band” and “Dual Loop Band”), a Light Seal, two Light Seal cushions, a cover to protect the front of the device, a polishing cloth, the battery pack, USB-C cable, and a power adapter. “Zeiss Optical Insert — Readers” are $99 and prescription inserts are $149.
Apple Vision Pro was announced last June at WWDC. The headset-shaped computer resembles VR headsets such as Meta’s Quest 3, but with greater visual and audio fidelity, vastly more powerful performance, and the most advanced eye and hand tracking that I’ve ever experienced.
The device is Apple’s first major product since the launch of AirPods at the end of 2016. Invoking Steve Jobs’ iconic “one more thing,” Apple CEO Tim Cook compared the significance of Vision Pro to the original Macintosh and iPhone. “In the same way that Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro will introduce us to spatial computing.”
“Vision Pro is a new kind of computer that augments reality by seamlessly blending the real world with the digital world,” Cook said. “It’s the first Apple product you look through and not at. Vision Pro feels familiar, yet it’s entirely new. You can see, hear, and interact with digital content just like it’s in your physical space. And you control Vision Pro using the most natural and intuitive tools: your eyes, hand, and voice.”
Cook added that with Vision Pro you’re not limited by a display, and your surroundings can become “an infinite canvas” where you can open and place apps anywhere, at any size.
I have not spent any time using Vision Pro without Apple guiding me through short, controlled demos. My first demo gave me a brief look at visionOS, FaceTime personas, and how hand and eye tracking worked. In my second demo, I got to look at spatial videos (recorded by Apple with the Vision Pro’s cameras and iPhone 15 Pro, and one that I recorded myself) and 2D photos, videos, and panoramas. And in my third demo, I was allowed to bring my own recorded content (spatial videos, 2D photos, videos, and panoramas) and relive them as memories.
But even so, I left each 30-minute-ish demo craving more time with Vision Pro. What will working in Vision Pro be like, where I can open multiple Safari windows and apps and place them wherever I want? What’s it like air typing with visionOS’s virtual keyboard? How does using a Magic Keyboard and TrackPad work with the Vision Pro? How do my eyes look using the EyeSight on the external display? Will the weight be a problem? Will the two-hour battery life be enough, or will I need to be plugged in most of the time? What do the rest of Apple’s apps look like? What do third-party apps look like? I still have so many unanswered questions.
Consumers will inevitably compare the Vision Pro to the $499 Quest 3. Both are headsets that you wear on your face; both have a bunch of cameras for surrounding passthrough; both support hand tracking. But I would say that, whereas the Quest 3 has established itself as a device for playing immersive games (VR or mixed reality aka XR), Vision Pro really is more of a computer. It’s part Mac and part iPad, but controlled with your eyes and hands.
And those controls — they feel like magic. I know, Apple loves to use the word “magic” or describe its products as “magical” experiences, but just like the mouse and multitouch, Vision Pro’s hand and eye tracking are right up there as breakthrough inputs. The same way it feels natural to touch and tap on a touchscreen, looking at an icon or content, and then tapping your index and thumb together to “click” it feels even more intuitive. It’s something you need to try firsthand to really “get it.”
Where Apple has its work cut out is convincing consumers of the value that Vision Pro offers. Yes, it’s a computer that lets you open many apps in virtual screens, but it’s also a giant virtual movie theater for watching TV shows and movies and playing games. We haven’t even seen the real immersive — “volumetric” as Apple calls it — experiences; those will likely come from third-party developers. Not to mention, it will likely take some time before there’s a hit app or general use case that sells the product on its own. (It took the Apple Watch three years before it leaned in as a health and fitness device.)
In its press release, Apple says there will be an “all-new App Store” with “more than 1 million familiar apps across iOS and iPadOS” that “automatically work with the new input system” of the Apple Vision Pro. Apple also says there will be “more than 150 3D titles with incredible depth” available in the Apple TV app for the device. Apple Arcade is also highlighted with “more than 250 titles” and new “spatial games” such as “Game Room, What the Golf?, and Super Fruit Ninja” offer “engaging gameplay experiences.”
$3,499 is a lot of bones to spend on a headset, even one with as advanced technology as the Vision Pro. Time will tell whether a face-worn computer succeeds or not, but the product is classic Apple, melding hardware and software together into a new computing experience that’s intuitive to use. For now, you’ve got four weeks to decide whether you’re an early adopter or not.
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