Challenges of Apple Vision Pro Launch Apple Prepares for Vision Pro Debut Amid Marketing Challenges

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By Ronald Tech

Apple, Inc. AAPL confirmed last week that its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset will be made available in the U.S. on Feb. 2, with preorders beginning Jan. 19. Bloomberg columnist Mark Gurman Sunday said the MR headset will pose one of the toughest marketing challenges to Cupertino.

Marketing Challenge: Apple has priced the Vision Pro, which has “limited battery life, an unwieldy design and no killer app,” at $3,499, Gurman said in the weekly Power On newsletter.

The company is bracing for an initial sales surge, courtesy of the early adopters, followed by a tapering off of demand, he said, adding that retail stores may need twice as much inventory space “during the opening weekend than afterward.”

With Apple’s previous devices such as the iPod, the iPad, the iPhone and even the Watch, shoppers didn’t require a lot of “coaxing and coaching,” the columnist noted.

“The Vision Pro will be a different beast. Few consumers are accustomed to wearing a mixed-reality headset, and Apple’s model requires particular care,” Gurman said.

“If the device isn’t fitted to someone’s head correctly — or is missing the right lenses — the entire experience could be ruined, potentially costing Apple a $3,499 sale forever.”

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Apple Does Groundwork: ”Apple has prepared its most sophisticated sales pitch ever, including a demo lasting up to 25 minutes — longer than it takes to watch your favorite sitcom,” Gurman said. The company has also trained several hundred employees at its offices in Cupertino, he added.

“To make sure retail staffers get everything right,” Apple hosted several hundred employees at its offices this month in Cupertino to walk them through the process, the columnist said.

Gurman noted that the customer demos will begin at Apple’s U.S. retail stores on the launch date, with sign-ups beginning at 8 a.m. local time. More than a dozen demo units will be made available simultaneously at the largest stores, with dedicated sit-down areas where presentations will take place, he said.

The Modus Operandi: Gurman outlined the demo process as follows:

  • Retail store worker scans user’s face with an app, similar to setting up Face ID.
  • Scan will help decide on the light seal, foam cushion and band size that suits the customer.
  • If the user wears glasses, the store worker will use a device to scan lenses for prescription information.
  • All these details gathered by the worker will be handed over to a staffer in the store’s backroom to assemble the demo Vision Pro with correct accessories.
  • The store employee will then hand the demo device to the customer and explain how the interface works, including how to control the pointer using a user’s eyes, how to gesture to make selections and how to hold the headset.
  • Once the headset is on, the customer will need to calibrate the device with various tracking and tapping exercises so it can follow their eyes and hands.
  • As the 20- to 25-minute demo begins, the user will be directed to the photo apps followed by examples of panorama shots.
  • The customer will then see 3D images, following which the user will be shown how to use the device as a computer or iPad replacement.
  • The customer will then be shown 3D and immersive movies, including clips of wild animals, the ocean and sports.
  • Demo devices will be preloaded with various third-party apps that are launching with the device next month.
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”The goal of the demos is giving users an experience that’s compelling but not exhausting — ideally leaving them itching for more,” Gurman said. The key issue, the columnist said, is making sure customers stay comfortable while wearing the Vision Pro. This, however, could be challenging, as several retail employees have already said that they felt their heads were tired and sweaty after only using the device for a half hour, he said.

Apple also aims to ensure that product reviewers will get the best experience by having them participate in two in-person sessions with the company before being sent a device, Gurman said.

Still, none of these measures will ensure success within the next year or two as the product is just too expensive and cumbersome to win over mainstream consumers, he said.

“But looking out a few years — once the price and weight go down, and there are more compelling features — Apple may have laid the groundwork for something big,” the Apple specialist said.

Apple ended Friday’s session up 0.18% at $185.92, according to Benzinga Pro.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

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