Virtual Apple Store visits in Vision Pro could make brick-and-mortar stores obsolete, if this patent bears fruit

Apple Store Strasbourg
(Image credit: Apple)

Physical Apple Stores could become a thing of the past if Apple Vision Pro becomes more popular and if a new patent filed by Apple is implemented. 

As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple is exploring the idea of a virtual store for its headsets where users can interact with objects, moving them around and viewing them from different angles. This could mean being able to test out the size of devices like Apple Watches or iPhones

On physically tracking your hands in virtual Apple Stores, the patent says “With an XR system, some of a person's physical motions, or representations thereof, can be tracked and, in response, characteristics of virtual objects simulated in the XR environment can be adjusted.” 

If the virtual Apple Store patent gets implemented and it launches in a good state, this could make the trip to a physical Apple Store no longer necessary as a user could solve most of their problems online. However, having a Genius Bar worker on hand to walk you through repairs or a member of staff to let you physically try devices will never quite be matched by a spatial headset. 

A niche proposal

The idea of being able to view Apple’s devices from your home is not only convenient for those who have spent the money but potentially a great accessibility function for those who may struggle to get to their local Apple Store. It can also help for anyone in a more rural area. However, Apple Vision Pro, at a base cost of $3,499, is a very expensive headset and with just over 200,000 sold, it seems to have quite a niche appeal. 

If we get a cheaper “Apple Vision” or some other form of spatial headset in the future, the implementation of this patent could have a much broader appeal, but it’s a lot to pay upfront right now to see an Apple Store online. Hopefully, some unique features can make the virtual Apple Store feel special in its own way if Apple decides to invest in it. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.