Apple's $3,499 Vision Pro AR/VR headset could hit stores in February 2024 as employees and developers prepare for a rare new product category

Vision Pro eyesight
(Image credit: Apple)

After years of rumors, Apple finally unveiled the Vision Pro headset at WWDC back in June, saying that it would go on sale in early 2024. There was nothing firmer than that, and Apple has so far failed to confirm anything beyond what it said all those months ago. The smart money was on a launch before March 2024, and now it seems that we can expect the Vision Pro to hit store shelves even sooner than that.

A new report suggests that Apple will have its Vision Pro headset ready to go on sale as soon as February, with various cogs already in motion to make sure that the launch goes as smoothly as possible. It's a big launch for Apple, and one that could make or break the category for a company that doesn't enter new ones all that often. Now, we're almost on the eve of it entering the augmented reality world, and it's now a question of whether it can bring customers along for the ride.

Priced at $3,499, the Vision Pro headset will be a hard sell for some. But its success will likely depend on the apps that are available, especially in the early weeks and months. To that end, Apple has already told developers to get their apps ready, and now it's a matter of whether the hardware will be ready to run them.

Vision Pro, coming soon

Apple's Vision Pro headset has been the talk of the town since June, and Bloomberg reports that it could be in stores — and the homes of eager buyers — as soon as February. That's according to unnamed sources who are apparently knowledgeable on the matter. It's said that Apple has production underway already and that it's running at full pelt.

"Production of the new headset is running at full speed at facilities in China and has been for several weeks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. "The goal is for customer-bound units to be ready by the end of January, with the retail debut planned for the following month, the people said."

Apple has reportedly already reached out to developers to ask them to "get ready" for the headset's availability, and they can now send their apps for feedback if required.

Vision Pro — a rare gamble

The arrival of the Vision Pro will mark the first entry into a new category for Apple in a long time. The last time it did something like this was in 2014 when it launched the Apple Watch into the smartwatch category. The Apple Watch then went on to take the world by storm, the latest models being the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. The Apple Watch has been a huge win, the recent ban notwithstanding, and Apple will no doubt hope that the Vision Pro can have even a sliver of its success.

It won't be easy, though. The Vision Pro's price is only part of the equation here, with some still unconvinced about the spatial computing technology offered by such headsets. There are undoubted benefits to headsets like the Vision Pro, but whether or not there will be enough killer apps, and enough buyers, to make it a success is something that only time will tell.

It's also a complicated product to sell — Gurman notes that Apple will have to ensure each Vision Pro is correctly set up at the point of sale, requiring special training for retail team members. That training will come, but it's all a reminder that selling the Vision Pro isn't like selling an iPhone, something Apple is exceedingly good at.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.