The Apple Vision Pro will be available to customers from February 2 in a number of Apple Store locations across the United States. While consumers may expect a bit of a lengthy appointment for a $3,499 hardware purchase, it is likely that the process will be a lot longer than first thought.
In Sunday’s “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman writes that Apple has prepared an entire demonstration of the headset for consumers, one that can last up to 25 minutes in length. The process was taught to a number of store employees in Cupertino earlier in January, who then returned to their respective locations to teach their colleagues.
At some of Apple’s largest stores, more than a dozen demo units will be available at any one time, in order to cope with the presumed amount of appointments for the Apple Vision Pro.
Before the demo, a worker will scan the user’s face with an app in a way that’s similar to setting up Face ID. The app will tell the employee the light seal, foam cushion, and band size to match the customer’s head and face.
There will also be a scan of the user’s glasses, if they wear them, so that the right prescription lenses are placed into the headset. Once gathered, the information is provided to a worker in a back room to assemble the demo unit.
The employee will then explain how the customer interacts with the user interface, including using eye detection and gestures to select items, how to hold the headset, adjusting the Fit Dial, and using the Digital Crown. The employee will use an iPad to see the user’s view throughout the demo.
After a calibration period with tracking and tapping exercises, the 20 to 25-minute demonstration will actually begin.
During the demo, users will open the Photos app, which will lead into viewing Spatial Photos and Spatial Video. That’s then followed by a demo showing how the Apple Vision Pro could be a Mac or iPad replacement, including positioning multiple app windows in 3D space and web scrolling in Safari.
A selection of 3D and immersive movies will then be shown, ranging from wild animal clips and a view of the ocean, to sports and a view from a tightrope.
The in-store headsets will also be preloaded with third-party apps, giving more of a taste of what they can do with the headset.
For actually purchasing the headset, the process will be different. After the face scan, the retail employee will box together the correct elements at the point of sale.
Though customers will be urged to visit a store to try the headset out, they will still be able to buy the Apple Vision Pro online. A version of the face scan system will be supplied to online customers, before the headsets are shipped to them.
As well as the demo areas, a dedicated Vision Pro table will also be available to view, but not use, with between two and four units displayed on the table.
The intensive demonstration may be Apple trying to play it as safe as possible with the launch of the major new product and platform. With a high price and it potentially being the first time many customers will use a virtual reality or mixed reality headset, it’s a high-stakes moment that Apple wants to be as successful as possible for the Apple Vision Pro’s future.