Apple's Vision Pro is delayed but will still arrive early next year

Apple's Vision Pro is delayed but will still arrive early next year

Apple's Vision Pro launch has reportedly been delayed, even though visionOS could be complete by January.

As the most complex product Apple has ever made, the Vision Pro has seen numerous delays, and that continues even as 2024 approaches. Here's the latest news from reliable sources about Apple's first mixed reality headset.

Despite Tim Cook's enthusiasm for the Vision Pro, Apple is being very cautious with the launch of its first XR headset.

Another minor delay for Apple's mixed reality

Apple has been working on the Vision Pro or something like it for over a decade. For example, there's a US patent application for a head mounted display dated April 17, 2008.

The iPhone maker has made use of this early research in its ARKit software, which enables AR experiences within the unsatisfyingly small window of a phone screen. The true value of augmented reality comes with a wearable device that frees your hands. Apple's long-term plans are to shrink the components of the Vision Pro to fit into a glasses form factor.

According to industry publication Bloomberg, the company is focusing on software this year as it unveils its next major update to augmented reality.

Apple's ARKit software enables augmented reality through an iPhone or iPad. Image: Apple

Apple's AR glasses will take several more years. In the meantime, the Vision Pro, which is more of a VR headset with XR capabilities, has faced another delay.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, one of the most accurate prognosticators of Apple product news, the Vision Pro won't arrive in January 2024 as previously planned. Instead, sometime around March is the most likely launch date.

When Apple announced its XR headset, it didn't give a firm date. The Vision Pro launch time frame simply as “early 2024.” March is still the first quarter, so the tech giant hasn't actually fallen behind.


Why Apple delayed the Vision Pro launch

Gurman's newsletter suggests visionOS will be finalized by January and points to logistics as one of the reasons for the Vision Pro's delay. Getting the product safely distributed to various locations across the US is relatively easy for a company like Apple, but there are other reasons for delays.

Since the Vision Pro requires a custom fit, Apple will sell its Vision Pro headset at Apple Stores, starting with major metropolitan areas in the US and slowly rolling the device out to other locations over time.

That means store personnel must be trained, not only in fitting the Vision Pro to various individuals, but also in helping customers navigate visionOS, and demonstrating key features.

Since this is a wearable, there could be sanitation concerns, particularly in the era of pandemics. As a $3,500 device that is wearable, Apple could have security issues to resolve as well. A stolen Vision Pro would cost the company at least three times as much as the loss of an iPhone.

Perhaps that's why the Apple Vision Pro will reportedly require interested customers to schedule an appointment before going hands-on with the advanced VR headset.

For all the details about Apple's Vision Pro, check our in-depth guide about this high-end VR headset.

Sources: Bloomberg, USPTO