Vision Pro demo experience in Apple Stores: Everything to expect

There are likely going to be a lot of people hoping to get an early Vision Pro demo, but if you do succeed in reserving a slot (details below), we now have a good idea of what to expect.

Larger stores will have dedicated sit-down Vision Pro demo areas, with more than a dozen headsets available for customers to try …


Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman shared details of what to expect, in his latest Power On newsletter.

Booking a Vision Pro Demo

To book a slot, you’ll need to wait until 8am local on the launch date, February 2. Early slots are likely to get booked up fast, and while Gurman didn’t provide any details of how to reserve one, I’d recommend having the main Apple Store website in one tab, and your local store site in another, ready to hit refresh on each. As with iPhone pre-orders, don’t be surprised if nothing happens until a few minutes after 8am.

Face scan for sizing

We learned last week that the online ordering process involves using an iPhone with Face ID to scan your face to determine the fit. Exactly the same process will be used in-store, with a retail worker doing the scan for you. The results will determine the right:

  • Light seal
  • Foam cushion
  • Band size

Scanning your eyeglasses for prescription lenses

If you wear eyeglasses, store staff will use a device to scan your glasses and automatically determine the prescription. They will then fit the appropriate prescription lenses to your demo unit.

Either way, there will be a short wait while an employee assembles your demo unit with the right size accessories.

A quick run-through before you put it on

Gurman say that the next step is to have the assistant explain the basics of how to use it – before you put it on.

Once the unit is in hand, the employee will explain how the interface works. That includes how to control the pointer using a user’s eyes, how to gesture to make selections and how to hold the headset. The staffer will also show how to adjust the so-called Fit Dial on the main headband and how to use the Digital Crown for moving between virtual and augmented reality.

Wearing and calibrating the headset

Once you’ve been briefed on how to control Vision Pro, you’ll be able to put it on, and will be guided through a calibration process.

Customers will need to calibrate the device with various tracking and tapping exercises so it can follow their eyes and hands. That includes looking at circular dot patterns set at different brightness levels and a hand scan in the field of vision of the device.

Then the actual demo begins

The main section of the demo has four parts, says Gurman.

  1. Users will be directed to the photos app to view still images that are similar to the ones preloaded on Apple’s other devices in retail stores. That’s followed by examples of panorama shots.
  2. Then the demo starts to get more interesting. The customer sees 3D images that Apple calls spatial photos (in this case, of a kid hitting a piñata) and a spatial video (footage of a birthday party). 
  3. The next part of the demo shows how to use the device as a computer or iPad replacement. It explains how to position multiple app windows in space and scroll through webpages in the Safari browser. 
  4. Customers are then shown 3D and immersive movies, including clips of wild animals, the ocean and sports. There is also a compelling scene that makes users feel as if they’re on a tightrope.

Some third-party apps will also be loaded, though we don’t know whether you’ll be taken through a set of these, or will be free to choose the ones that interest you.

Don’t expect much if you get to try the keyboard – Gurman has separately described the current version as “a complete write-off.”

Store staff will see what you see

To enable you to be guided through the demo, your Vision Pro display will be mirrored to an iPad, allowing the assistant to see what you see.

Staff themselves will have had a chance to use the headset a day or two ahead of launch day.

Demo is intended to leave you wanting more

The aim of the Vision Pro demo is to give customers a good taste of the capabilities of the device, without overwhelming or tiring them. Apple’s goal, says Gurman, is ‘leaving them itching for more.’

However, the company may have another reason for wanting to limit demos to 25 minutes max.

Privately, several retail employees have said they felt their head was tired and sweaty after only about half an hour of use.

Apple does have a second band intended to be more comfortable for longer sessions, but this won’t be used for demos.

Paying for Vision Pro

If you have an Apple Card, then you won’t need to shell out the $3,500+ price in one hit.

Gurman says that Apple Card Monthly Installments will indeed be an option. Apple Card Monthly Installments give users the option to spread a purchase out into equal monthly payments with no interest. There aren’t any details on how long the payment plan for Vision Pro will be. Currently, iPhone purchases can be divided into 24 monthly payments. Payment plans for Macs, iPads, Apple Watches, and other devices are divided into 12 monthly payments.

If you can’t get an early demo

If all the early demo slots are booked up, you’ll still get a chance to take a look at the device. The report says that each store will have between two and four Vision Pro units on display, though you’ll only be able to look at these ones, not try them on.

Image: Apple

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