The Vision Pro headset, the world’s most iconic device maker’s first significant release since the iPhone launched nine years ago, hits stores on Friday. For the tech giant’s first foray into virtual or augmented reality, the company has a lot riding on the $3,499 model that’s expected to be a gateway into the next chapter in online life after the smartphone.
The company has a ton of work to do if it’s going to convince consumers that this headset is the right fit for them. While critics agree that it delivers a “wow” factor and is state-of-the-art, they also say the headset feels heavy on your head and that it’s hard to open and close apps floating in space with your eyes. In addition, they noted that a lot of wires were hanging down and that the whole setup could be more portable.
Moreover, at launch, the headset did not launch with many apps designed specifically for it. For example, there are no games that use the headset’s spatial audio technology, and there are no YouTube or Netflix apps for the device.
If you want to try the headset, you can sign up for a demo at an Apple Store starting February 2 at 8 a.m. The sessions will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Apple says the store employee will show the customer how to pair the headset with their iPad and explain its various functions. Then, the employee will load a few third-party apps, scroll through web pages via Safari, and more. If you want to try the headset at home, you’ll need a Light Seal and a head strap. Apple is only allowing people to buy headsets with those accessories.
You can also pre-order the headset online beginning on February 2, and orders are expected to start shipping the same day. The headset will also be available to rent for $10 per hour at select Apple stores in the United States.
Apple’s Vision Pro is a headset that offers a 3D display with more pixels than a 4K TV for each eye, spatial audio, and more. The headset can also transform your living room into a theater and allow you to play compatible games on a screen as large as you want.
Analysts at Wedbush Securities predict solid pre-orders for the device and expect Apple to sell about 600,000 units in its first year. Dan Ives of Wedbush emphasizes that the long-term goal is for the headset to integrate seamlessly alongside iPhones and other Apple devices in the future. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is pictured above in the company’s promotional materials for the new headset.