It's Apple Vision Pro release day, and the downtown Nashville Apple Store has opened to a quiet and small squad of people waiting to pick up their expensive glimpse into the future.
Pandemonium likely comes to mind if someone asks you to imagine an Apple store on a product release day. However, for Apple Vision Pro, a strict appointment system and limited pre-orders led to a quiet morning in Nashville.
Initial pre-order pickups and in-store availability for Apple's long-awaited Vision Pro headset began Friday morning. A hopeful few gathered outside the flagship Apple Downtown Nashville store for a chance to try on Apple Vision Pro or buy in-store stock.
A quiet gathering
Apple Downtown Nashville normally opens at 10 a.m., but its employees started the day at 8 a.m. for in-store pickup and demo appointments. Since a product demo can take as much as a half-hour, Apple asked that customers make an appointment.
I talked to those gathered outside the Apple Store before the doors opened, and four of us, out of about a dozen people, had pre-ordered the product. My pickup time was 9 a.m., while the others had time slots between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., but several showed up early, hoping for pickup before their respective times.
The rest of the gaggle wanted to see the Apple Vision Pro in person. A few had signed up for the in-person demo, while others stopped to wait with the growing group for the doors to open.
Needless to say, the Apple Vision Pro release day was quite conservative compared to other device launches. That's likely due to multiple factors, including price, availability, and appointment slots.
It is expected that Apple sold around 180,000 Apple Vision Pro units during the pre-order weekend, but that metric hasn't been updated since. Apple could sell as many as 600,000 units by the end of 2024.
Enter the Apple Store
The doors opened to little fanfare as employees welcomed the group of people inside. The initial appointments were honored, and the rest of us were left to browse while we waited our turn.
Demos were held in the area generally reserved for Today at Apple sessions. Customers were paired off one-to-one with an employee to either pick up their pre-order or set up a demo unit.
Not everyone picking up a pre-order opted for the in-store demo. Likewise, not all demos ended in a sale.
The Apple Store employees were unsurprisingly tight lipped about the launch or other details that Apple may consider sensitive. Outside of that, employees were not expecting many people to show up for the initial release.
My pickup went quickly and well before the 9 a.m. central time slot I had registered for. I opted for the product demo and was walked through initial setup of the device by an Apple employee that could see everything from an iPhone I could AirPlay to.
The employees giving the tour brought a demo headset on a wood tray. We got walked through Safari, Photos, and a special Apple-produced video demonstrating media prowess of the headset.
The one step you won't get at home is an glasses measurement taken in the store prior to the demo. You hand over your glasses, and they use the machine to determine your prescription. If you've already submitted your prescription, this step is unnecessary.
The entire process was very similar to the walkthrough Apple posted on YouTube. I highly recommend that anyone on the fence about ordering Apple Vision Pro sign up for a demo before making the purchase. We'll be talking more about this process a bit later on Friday.
This product must be used first hand to understand in full. Stay tuned for AppleInsider's in-depth coverage and analysis of the Apple Vision Pro in the coming weeks.