It happened sooner than I expected; Apple announced Vision Pro preorders on Monday. Just ahead of the official start of CES 2024 and a little sooner than estimated. The moment I saw the announcement, I realized Apple’s spatial computer would sell out come January 19th.
I would buy the Vision Pro in a second if it were available in Europe, but that’s not the case. Apple is going for a staggered launch, starting with the US. While I was wondering what markets will follow and how soon after that February 2nd release date we’ll get new announcements, it dawned on me that supply can’t possibly meet demand.
There must be hundreds of thousands of Apple fans who, like me, are dying to get their hands on the Vision Pro.
It looks like I’m not the only one expecting the Vision Pro to sell out quickly. Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo penned a new research note with expectations for the spatial computer. He, too, thinks the first Vision Pro batch will sell out.
Meanwhile, Apple kickstarted its marketing campaign with a new Vision Pro ad that feels incredibly familiar. That’s because Apple has simply copied its first-gen iPhone commercial, adapting it for the Vision Pro. That’s a telling sign about Apple’s plans for the new gadget. And it further reinforces my thinking that the Vision Pro will sell out.
Yes, the Vision Pro starts at $3,499, which is significantly more expensive than a Mac or iPhone. In fact, you could enter Apple’s ecosystem for $3,499 by getting yourself an iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and other devices. But the Vision Pro is the first step towards the future of computing. One where the screen won’t be in your pocket. A future where you don’t have to touch the screen to get stuff done.
The price makes the Vision Pro a prohibitive device. Apple will not sell millions of units, not in the first year. The most optimistic reports estimated sales of up to one million units. More conservative figures said Apple would sell half of that. But Apple won’t have that many Vision Pro units on hand for the February 2nd release date. Far from it.
Production may have been in full swing for weeks, but the Vision Pro is a sophisticated computer. It can’t be easy or cheap to manufacture. That’s why I think Apple can’t possibly meet demand. Not initially.
Kuo penned a blog post on Medium, laying out what investors should look for in the Vision Pro preorder and launch. That’s where he said he expected the spatial computer to be sold out soon after sales start online:
Thanks to the demand from Apple’s core fans and heavy users, the Vision Pro should sell out soon after it is available for preorder or sale, resulting in a longer shipping time. If not, Vision Pro may take longer to become a success, which would be detrimental to the short-term stock price performance of Apple and its supply chain.
I don’t expect the Vision Pro to remain sold out for very long. It’s likely that Apple will catch up with demand and open sales in other regions. It’s what happened with the Apple Watch. I waited in line to buy the first-gen Apple Watch almost a decade ago, and I barely got one. It didn’t take long after that for supply to meet demand.
Kuo also wonders whether the Vision Pro demand can be sustained after the novelty wears off:
The Vision Pro’s MR/XR specifications and software are well above the industry average, so users are sure to be impressed by the product at first glance and can expect to see high praise for the Vision Pro’s user experience on the internet in general after the launch. However, whether the demand for Vision Pro can be sustained after the novelty wears off is even more important, depending on whether Vision Pro’s product positioning and key applications are clear and correct.
The more people get their hands on the first Vision Pro units, the more hands-on reports will make their way on social media. These reviews are likely to impact demand.
The response to the Vision Pro will impact Apple’s plans for future generations of the product, Kuo thinks. Hopefully, the Vision Pro will soon reach Europe, and I won’t have to wait for a second-gen model rather than buy the first one.
As for the new commercial seen above, it sure looks like Apple will mount a big marketing campaign for the Vision Pro. Again, this is iPhone-grade marketing here, and proof that Apple has big plans for Vision Pro computing. You can check out the first-gen iPhone commercial below.