Apple Vision Pro Early Reviews Drop While Pre-Order Demand Outstrips Estimated Supply

The US launch of the Apple Vision Pro is upon us, and reviewers already have their hands on the new “spatial computer”— the first wave of feedback on the new device is out. So, what do tech insiders who have experienced the Vision Pro first-hand have to say about it?

And, as these reviews come in, there are reports from Macrumours that since pre-orders opened on January 19th, Apple has sold 200,000 units in pre-orders. But while these numbers may not seem that large for an Apple pre-order drive, this is a $3,500 device with very limited production volumes. 

So, with $700 million in sales already before launch, the Apple Vision Pro looks like it might be a hit. But is the hype worth it?

Let’s take a look at what the reviewers had to say about the Vision Pro and explore the context of these initial pre-orders.

200,000 Units Sold, 80,000 Units Ready to Ship

You may remember recently that tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that Apple will only have around 80,000 units ready for the Vision Pro launch on February 2nd. Kuo has got it right on numerous occasions regarding major Apple-related news, and is well connected to various key players along the Apple supply chain. 

Almost as soon as the Vision Pro was available for pre-order, buyers received delivery estimates for March. Initially, there will likely be a wait of at least a month for all orders. This could continue for some time as Apple grapples with the complex production of the 4K OLED microdisplays which Sony is currently supplying. 

But let’s just take those 200,000 pre-orders into context for a moment. In total, it equates to $700,000. This is around the figure Meta makes from Quest sales during the busiest quarter of the year, just ahead of the Christmas rush. And this is after a few days of pre-orders. 

Even before the reviews are in, buyers are voting with their dollars, and the Vision Pro may be a big hit. 

The First Reviews Are In

So far, The Wall Street Journal, CNET, The Verge, and CNBC have all tried and tested the new Apple Vision Pro. The reviews paint an honest picture, with full critiques of the good and bad. 

The first review to hit was from Scott Stein at CNET. Stein liked the clarity of the near-4K OLED microdisplays, the mixed reality functionality, the hand-eye control interface, the spatial video capture and viewing capabilities, and the wealth of iOS-compatible apps available. 

Stein’s review talked less favourably about the price, the battery, the lack of glasses space, the less-than-perfect hand-eye input, and the fact there are so few native apps available at launch. 

While testing the Vision Pro for The Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern wore the “spatial computer” for the best part of 24 hours without taking it off. During this time, she worked and cooked and found the passthrough and added timers and video tutorials very helpful.  Stern found the 3D video call avatars known as Personas were weird. 

Reviewing for The Verge, Nilay Patel talked about the imperfections in the video passthrough and that the Personas are “somewhat terrifying”. Other criticisms targeted the social isolation felt when you can’t share what you see with those around you in the same room. 

Todd Haslton at CNBC hailed the Vision Pro as the “future of commuting and entertainment”. Unlike Stern and Patel, Haslton liked the Personas. Haselton’s main criticism of the Vision Pro is the lack of apps. So far, we’ve yet to see major players like Facebook, Amazon, and Uber create native apps, and there are not many popular mobile games available either.

On the whole, the reviews give a positive first impression. Many of the issues surrounding Personas and app availability are things that can be addressed. As mentioned previously, though, Apple needs to do more to encourage the production of native streaming apps to create the full user experience many people expect. 

As expected, the price point was mentioned. But as the initial preorders indicate, there is definitely a demand, even if you could buy seven Quest 3s for the same price. 

Expect More Vision Pro News Soon

As the Vision Pro is officially launched, consumers in the United States will struggle to get theirs any time soon. But with Apple attempting to make major production changes, they may catch up with demand eventually. 

In the meantime, expect lots more news as Apple officially does its bit to rewrite the book on virtual and mixed reality.

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