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Apple Vision Pro shipments rumored to start as soon as February

Apple Vision Pro

Apple is reportedly gearing up to release the Apple Vision Pro to consumers in February as last-minute supply chain, accessory provider, and developer pushes begin.

Signs are pointing to Apple hitting its launch window of "early 2024" faster than expected. The Apple Vision Pro could arrive in customers' homes as soon as February if no supply chain or other snags are hit in the intervening weeks.

A report from Bloomberg lays out Apple's strategy for releasing the Apple Vision Pro. According to people familiar with the matter, customer-bound units are expected to be ready by the end of January, with a retail debut in February.

Rather than going through the usual pre-order process where customers place their orders online and have a package show up a week later, Apple wants more control over the initial setup. So, before making the order, customers are expected to show up at Apple Stores to get fitted for their headsets and lenses.

Supply chain sources in China are running at full speed to hit a deadline at the end of January. Production issues could push everything forward, so these details shouldn't be considered set in stone.

Apple also indicates it is readying a public launch by sending retail employees to get training on how to introduce, fit, and package the Apple Vision Pro in stores. Alongside the retail push, Apple has also sent an email to developers asking for last-minute feedback and providing tips to get ready for launch.

All signs are lining up with a January soft launch where customers can see units physically in stores, try them out, and get fitted for the headset, but units won't ship until February. One source speaking to AppleInsider states that equipment for in-store use on Apple Vision Pro gear will arrive at retailers in the first week of January — but this is unconfirmable via other means.

Since Apple is controlling the pre-order experience, it is expected that initial shipments will be limited to those with the means to both visit an Apple Store and pay the hefty $3,500 price tag outright. The method of sale and high price may both serve as deterrents to keep the product from selling out too quickly, which would create months of wait times for restocking.

Apple reminding developers that time is running short for launch apps

Another piece of the Apple Vision Pro story is developers. Apple will rely heavy on those developers to craft custom experiences for the headset, beyond recycling iPad and iPhone software.

In an email to developers titled "Get Ready," Apple is reminding developers to update to the newest version of Xcode, and test thoroughly with the latest visionOS SDL and Reality Composer Pro.

Furthermore, it is informing developers that there is a new Unity beta that supports visionOS, and compatible apps on TestFlight can be submitted to Apple for evaluation on actual hardware, should the developer not have test hardware.