Since Apple confirmed its entry into the extended reality market at WWDC 2023 in June, consumers have been clamoring for an official Apple Vision Pro release date. Advertised as more than just a mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro could mark a new era for extended reality.
This “spatial computing” device is perfectly aligned with the concept of the metaverse, promising to bring virtual content and real-world environments closer together. Though official specs and product details have yet to be announced, Apple is benefiting from significant industry hype.
If industry rumors are correct, we may have a short time to wait before consumers can dive into the Apple metaverse themselves. The Apple Vision Pro release date is set for somewhere in the early months of 2024.
Here’s everything we know about the Apple Vision Pro release date, pricing, and specs.
The Current Apple Vision Pro Release Date
Like rival Meta, Apple’s executives have remained frustratingly vague about an official Apple Vision Pro release date. The Apple website confirms the headset will start rolling out early next year (2024), starting with sales online and via Apple store locations throughout the US.
Apple also appears to be planning to roll the device out to other countries, such as Canada and the UK, in the following months of the year. The term “early next year” could cover anything from January to April, though we’ll likely get more updates from Apple before 2024 begins.
Though Apple could start the year on a high note, the company still has several supply chain issues and challenges to overcome. Rumors earlier this year suggested Sony, the company responsible for making Apple’s OLED displays, can only produce up to 200,000 displays per quarter.
This has already prompted Apple to slash its production plans and could mean the Vision Pro is as difficult to access for consumers as the Xbox One and PS5 were just a short while ago.
Apple Vision Pro Release Date and Availability
Notably, while the Apple Vision Pro is set to roll out in the US and a handful of other countries soon, purchasing your device might not be as simple as it seems. With so much riding on this high-priced device, Apple seems determined to prioritize customer experience.
The company isn’t planning on simply allowing consumers to grab the item off the shelf. Instead, consumers may be required to book an in-store appointment with an expert once the product is released. This is similar to the strategy Apple took with the first generation of the Apple Watch.
Through an in-store appointment, Apple suggests consumers will be able to customize and tailor their Apple Pro experience, ensuring they get the best fit.
The good news is consumers not located close to an Apple store may not be out of luck. Apple is making complete developer kits with measuring and fit apps to help sellers customize the device to their buyers. However, Apple will unlikely hand the Vision Pro off to third-party distributors soon.
How Much Is the Apple Vision Pro? Pricing Insights
The pricing may be a big factor pushing the Apple Vision Pro release date back.
Though sources suggest the production materials of the Vision Pro only cost around $1,590, the tech giant has chosen quite a hefty profit margin. Currently, the spatial computing device’s price is $3,499 at launch, making it one of the most expensive products out there.
While the product isn’t currently available for pre-order, Apple allows customers to sign up for a notification when pre-orders are released. For those concerned about the hefty price tag, there’s also a chance a cheaper alternative may be on the horizon.
Bloomberg shared rumors that a cheaper headset with less advanced features could already be in production. It remains to be seen which features this alternative solution will lack. However, if Apple follows in the footsteps of other XR developers, less storage and simpler displays may be an option.
The bad news is that the Apple Vision Pro release date for the cheaper wearable could be further away. Mark Gurman suggested the affordable alternative could be unveiled in 2025 or pushed back to 2026.
Apple Vision Pro: The Rumored Specs
Just as the Apple Vision Pro release date has remained heavily under wraps, we also have limited insight into the device’s specs. We know the product will contain 12 cameras, six microphones, and five hand, eye, and voice tracking sensors. The headset will also have a ring of LED lights to assist with eye-tracking performance.
The lights will also power Optic ID, Apple’s version of Face ID. We also know the Apple Vision Pro will come with its proprietary software stack and an Apple silicon architecture. There’s a brand-new R1 chip for sensor input and display performance and an M2 chip for heavy lifting.
Apple suggests the R1 chip will help to minimize input lag for a greater visual experience. From an audio perspective, the company is also investing in spatial audio, with “audio pods” located on each side of your headband. The individually amplified drivers in these pods can even be fine-tuned to your specific needs.
While Apple hasn’t revealed any storage information, rumors suggest the device could come with a 1TB SSD for storing apps and games. Plus, new patent information is emerging all the time.
For instance, a new patent filing indicates Apple could incorporate Airtag technology into the Vision Pro.
What to Expect: Design Insights
At a glance, the Apple Vision Pro so far isn’t too different from competing XR and MR devices. But some key differences could set Apple apart as a unique competitor. For instance, the display on the front of the visor allows Vision Pro to use “Eyesight.” This projects your eyes onto the outside of the headset when you’re interacting with others.
The glass pane is also a lens for the extensive camera array of the Vision Pro, which has allowed Apple to eliminate the need for controllers. There are no physical controls included with the device. Instead, you control everything with your eyes, voice, and hand gestures.
Apple even includes Siri for virtual assistance and support for the Apple Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and trackpad if you use your Vision Pro with your Mac.
Alongside these unique design components, the Apple Vision Pro will feature a custom alloy aluminum frame, curved to fit your face. Apple’s “Light Seal” also ensures you can get the most immersive experience possible, blocking out external content.
There’s even an ultra-customizable headband, which is set to be available in various sizes and will come with the integrated Apple “audio pod” speakers. The Vision Pro will also have two buttons on the top of the headset, one for capturing photos and videos and another for adjusting immersion.
The Apple Vision Pro Display
Although Apple Vision Pro’s release date and feature announcements are limited, there is quite a lot of information about the potential display. Apple has already confirmed using two Micro OLED 4K displays (one for each eye). Plus, a leak following WWDC estimated these displays will have a resolution of around 3800 x 3000 per eye.
Each display will be around the size of a postage stamp, which offers exceptional pixel density (around 23 million pixels combined). Apple also says its immersive displays will offer high dynamic range and comprehensive color options. Plus, the R1 chip ensures content will appear on the screen within as little as 12ms, with a potential refresh rate of up to 96Hz.
The Apple Vision Pro’s display may have one limitation, however. The design could prevent users from wearing glasses with the headset. This is why Apple has partnered with Zeiss to create custom optical inserts to replace glasses for users.
The availability of these inserts should coincide with the official Apple Vision Pro release date next year.
The Vision Pro Battery Life
The biggest concern many consumers have about the Vision Pro is that it may have limited battery life. While other vendors like Meta produce true standalone headsets, the Vision Pro needs a power source.
There are two options for powering the device that we know of. The first option is to plug the headset into an outlet. The other option could be to purchase and use an external battery pack. Once again, there’s limited information about when these battery packs will be available and how they’ll work.
Apple does indicate the batteries will be slim enough to fit in your pocket. Plus, there’s a chance there may be multiple sizes to choose from. Unfortunately, the only confirmed battery pack available now will only offer up to 2 hours of wireless charge.
Apple Vision Pro Apps and VisionOS
While an official Apple Vision Pro release date isn’t confirmed, developers can already begin applying to work with “VisionOS.” This new spatial computing operating system was announced with the Vision Pro at WWDC.
With VisionOS, developers can build apps natively for the headset and explore features, like Apple’s new “EyeSight” solution. Rumors also indicate Apple could be working on a camera designed for capturing 180-degree footage for the Vision Pro.
With Apple’s ongoing investment in the streaming landscape, this could indicate the vendor is planning on making movies and TV shows specifically for its new wearable. Apple’s SDK strategies and operating system solution could pave the way for an avalanche of exciting new experiences.
However, aside from games and new entertainment options, Apple will also allow users to access the productivity and collaboration apps they use daily. Safari browsers will be available to view on a massive display. Facetime will also come to the Vision Pro, though in a slightly different flavor.
Rather than showing your contacts your image, the FaceTime app for Vision Pro will create a digital persona to represent you in Facetime. Additionally, Apple will allow users to expand their Mac display into a larger 4K screen by looking at a machine. This will wirelessly beam the display into your headset.
As a bonus, a new “Travel Mode” option is emerging within the VisionOS developer beta. This new functionality focuses on helping users enjoy the Vision Pro experience when on a plane by toning down various features.
Looking Forward to the Release Date
The official Apple Vision Pro release date is still somewhat vague. However, it seems Apple is rapidly progressing towards its first steps into the XR market. The VisionOS developer programs are already up and running, and Apple has yet to suggest release dates will be pushed back.
Of course, the question is, when the Apple Vision Pro does finally arrive, will it live up to expectations? With such a hefty price tag, this device is set to be one of Apple’s most expensive products ever produced. The only way it can hope to compete in the XR space is to ensure it delivers something truly phenomenal.
Fortunately, it does seem that Apple is taking every precaution to ensure it doesn’t leave the success of its headset up to chance.