Apple quietly announced plans to host in-store demos at the launch of Vision Pro, but it isn’t clear how long they will continue.

Alongside its announcement of the forthcoming pre-orders and release of Vision Pro, Apple noted in a marketing email that it plans to host demos in US stores so customers can try Vision Pro themselves.

“Starting at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, February 2 [Vision Pro launch day], we invite you to sign up for a demo of Apple Vision Pro at your local Apple Store. Demo times will be available Friday through the weekend on a first-come, first-served basis. We can’t wait to see you there,” the message reads.

The message says demo times will be available “through the weekend” which suggests only from February 2–4. But it seems odd that Apple would only demo the headset for a few days. It’s also unclear if demo times can only be reserved at the store itself or online.

When reached for clarification, the company declined to offer additional details on the duration or process of Vision Pro in-store demos. Nor does the official Vision Pro website have any mention of them.

Our best guess is this initial in-store demo schedule is a sort of soft-launch while the company irons out the process before it commits to a more formal in-store demo program in the long term.

Apple has long offered in-store demos and courses for its products, but XR headset demos are a notoriously difficult task as far as customer education goes. Key challenges include keeping devices sanitary, fitting them to each customer, explaining new inputs and interactions, and dedicating floor space that’s free of obstacles.

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When giving press demos of the headset, Apple is careful to ask for each person’s vision prescription so they can have correct inserts available at the time of demo. If the company plans to do the same for in-store demos, that’s just one more factor that makes headset demos more challenge than something like an iPad.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • John G

    My guess is, if they have any inserts at all, they would be +1, +2, etc. “reading” inserts, as they would be fairly generic.

    This is great news, as I’d really like to go see the headset, as I’m not plunking down that much cash unless it’s SIGNIFICANTLY better and/or more useful than the Q3 or Pimax Crystal.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Apple seems to differentiate between “readers” with standard diopters, not only +1, +2 … reading glasses, but also -1, -2 … for those short sighted, and “prescription”. “Readers” inserts cost USD 100, while custom made “prescription” inserts that also correct e.g. astigmatism cost USD 150. So it shouldn’t be that difficult to have a few dozen standard inserts in each store to cover most users at least for the short demo.

  • Dragon Marble

    That’s the most confusing marketing email I’ve ever received. You are welcome to “sign up”, but it’s “first come, first served”.

    • Zantetsu

      You sign up online to be allowed to get into a line at the store to get a demo.

      • Dragon Marble

        That would be dumb, unless they intentionally want to create a long line to generate some hype at our expense.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Can you sign up online? It sounds more like starting 2024-02-02 8AM, you have to sign up at the actual Apple store where the demo will happen, and if you show up late, all spots will be gone. Which would of course be inconvenient, but assures that only those that live close to one of the participating stores will try, as these will be more likely to actually show up.

        Letting anybody sign up online for what will probably be significantly than 100 demo spots per store during the launch weekend, would lead to a lot of people signing up that won’t actually make it there. Unused demo spots would be both annoying for those that could have used them and look bad for Apple. Pretty sure they’d relax that policy after the first rush and let people sign up for later demos online.

        • Zantetsu

          Maybe I misread it. I’m not sure, not an expert on the process, just replied to the O.P. with what I thought was a clarification.

  • Anonymous

    I wanted them to succeed but now I wanted them to fucking FAIL miserably with the spatial computing nonsense they impose on everyone. They are trying to use their influence to rename AR, MR/XR, VR altogether and pretend they invented all these. And what is sad is that majority of consumers really ARE that stupid to believe them.

    What a fucking dishonest, hypocritical BS company.

    • Zantetsu

      Waaaaaaaah

    • Stealth Ico

      you can blame the crypto and nft bros who muddied the hell out of the vr/xr space with scams, fake metaverse promises, etc

      it should be very obvious why apple wants nothing to do with those terms

    • Nevets

      While I understand your frustration somewhat, this is a rather childish position. As a company with many competitors, Apple is entitled to take as individual a stance as they like when it comes to marketing and positioning a product category.

      If their customers are gullible enough to believe everything they say, that is a mark of their success rather than a mark of their awfulness.

    • Ben Lang

      I don’t think they’re trying to convince people they invented them, they just want to make their own marketing path. This is par for the course for Apple, but I don’t think it makes them evil.

    • John Grimoldy

      On the one hand, I’m no fan of Apple or the culture they perpetuate, however I want them to succeed here. It will drive VR forward. if they fail, VR will suffer as a result. I picked up my Vive in 2016. Eight years later, it’s clear VR advancement has moved at glacial speed.

      No fan of Zuck either, but the Quest 3 I picked up a few months ago feels like a move forward that should have happened 5 years ago. The xbox app, the desktop steam streamer app, and UEVR all feel like enormous leaps forward.

      Perhaps Apple will *finally* hit on the killer-app that gets folks to buy in. It ain’t gonna be gaming. That’s had 8 years to catch on…

  • That’s cool

  • Nevets

    It’s still a facebrick, and by all accounts uncomfortable in extended use. I wish Apple had done something more innovative on the ergonomic side.

    • LionHeartVR

      The tech just isn’t there to make it much much smaller and lighter at this juncture. The Quest 3 was the first headset I can use for longer than 3-4 hours. There are many products that can be purchased to make these devices more comfortable and balanced. By the end of the decade we may see devices as small and light as a pair of Ray-Ban glasses. However, I think micro computers that small will take a little longer.

      • Nevets

        Agreed in respect of VR HMDs, but I firmly believe they could innovate on comfort and form factor with today’s technology and pricing constraints. And the existence of third party options isn’t relevant to the mainstream, for whom a product needs to be satisfactory to use out of the box.