Apple Accelerates Production for Vision Pro Launch in February

Apple Inc. is intensifying production efforts for its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, aiming for a February launch, sources familiar with the matter have revealed.

Production is in full swing at Chinese facilities and has been for several weeks, with the goal of having customer-ready units by the end of January and a retail debut in the subsequent month, according to the anonymous sources. An email sent to software developers urging them to prepare for the Vision Pro by testing their apps with the latest tools further signals an imminent release.

This launch marks Apple’s entry into a new product category since the introduction of smartwatches in 2015. The Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset, blending virtual and augmented reality, making it a significant and complex product launch for the tech giant. The device has customized components that require assembly and packaging at the point of sale. Ensuring correct fitting to the user’s head is crucial for optimal content display and comfort.

The Vision Pro launch also involves overhauling retail stores to accommodate inventory and new fixtures for the $3,500 device, along with accessories like head straps, light seals, and prescription lenses. The multiple sizes and configurations of the headset necessitate additional storage space and dedicated demonstration areas.

While the production timeline is set for February, potential last-minute hiccups could affect the launch schedule. Apple declined to comment on the matter.

To prepare retail staff for the launch, Apple plans to send at least two employees from each store to its headquarters in January for a two-day training session. The training will cover the functionality of the Vision Pro, emphasizing features to highlight during customer interactions and teaching new etiquette for fitting the device comfortably.

The training will also include the use of an app that scans customers’ heads to determine the appropriate accessories. Retail employees will confirm the app’s recommendations during sales. Unlike the Apple Watch launch eight years ago, there is no indication of multiple media events leading up to the Vision Pro release. Apple is expected to highlight additional features on its website after unveiling the product at its developers conference in June.

The Vision Pro’s high price, limited availability initially in the U.S., and concerns over battery life and weight may contribute to a more subdued release. Apple aims to target corporate customers and schools, envisioning the Vision Pro as the catalyst for a successful line of mixed-reality products. The company is already working on more comfortable and lower-cost models to expand the product’s appeal. YTYTYTYTYTYTYTYT

In addition to the hardware launch, Apple is developing the next version of the device’s operating system, visionOS, expected to arrive in 2024 along with operating systems for other major Apple devices. The company conveyed its anticipation for the future in a note to developers, stating, “There’s so much more to come, and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings.”