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Apple Vision Pro pre-sales run hot, but demand might be limited

Apple’s Vision Pro virtual and augmented reality headsets sold out quickly after online pre-sales began Friday morning, but stable delivery dates could indicate a limited amount of demand for the $3,500 device.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a TF International Securities analyst who keeps close tabs on Apple, estimated the company sold between 160,000 and 180,000 headsets over the weekend. (The headset is set for delivery to early-bird buyers and due on store shelves Feb. 2.)

Compared to opening weekends for new models of Apple’s iPhones — which also typically sell out right away — shipping times for back-ordered Vision Pros remained steady Monday at between five and seven weeks, rather than continuing to extend beyond that period, Kuo noted.

That stability could indicate that there’s a ceiling on current demand for the Vision Pro, whose combined VR/AR capabilities could eventually find enterprise uses in field service, collaboration, and training, according to IDC research director Ramon Llamas.

“This is not gonna be for everyone, and it’s probably not intended to be,” Llamas said. “The first tranche of people I see lining up are going to be developers who will have to put together the third-party software.”

That third-party integration is critical to future business use for the Vision Pro, Llamas said. Getting Apple’s hardware to work with outside software companies — including major players in enterprise software like Microsoft — will be key to broadening the list of potential use cases for the technology.

Widespread use of VR/AR in the workplace is still in the future, but according to Llamas, Apple’s entry into the market could help catalyze demand.

“It’s gonna be another situation where Apple’s part of the wave that raises all boats, which we’ve seen before,” particularly in the world of smartphones and smartwatches. “Is this going to happen immediately? Probably not, but give it time — Apple has a way of making some of these most futuristic and forward-looking technologies that much more accessible for users.”

Kuo predicts sales of 500,000 units this year “should not be challenging” for Apple, bolstering predictions that 2024 will be an important year for the VR/AR market. Hardware vendors are expected to push for mainstream acceptance of the technology after a soft 2023 in which device shipments actually declined by 8.3%, according to an IDC report.

The launch of hotly anticipated devices like the Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 is expected to provide a boost to the market.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.


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