Apple’s Vision Pro headset sells out immediately after pre-orders open, but quickly dropping demand confirms status as ‘niche product’
Apple’s Vision Pro headset sold out immediately when pre-orders began in the US on Friday, but an analyst said he had a “major concern” about whether demand was sustainable.
Well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he estimated Apple sold about 160,000 to 180,000 Vision Pro units during the first pre-order weekend, with the immediate sell-out being as he had predicted.
But he said scrutiny of the shipping times listed for the units indicated that demand had immediately tailed off.
By contrast, top iPhone models usually see a continued steady increase in shipping times for 24 to 48 hours after pre-orders begin, “indicating that demand continues to grow” even after units initially sell out.
The fact that Vision Pro shipping times remained unchanged 48 hours after pre-orders opened indicates that “demand may quickly taper off” after early adopters have placed their orders, Kuo said in a research note on Monday.
He said reports had indicated supply chain partners such as assembler Luxshare were working overtime during the Lunar New Year weekend in early February to meet Vision Pro demand, but that this was due to production inefficiencies rather than better-expected demand.
“Luxshare has been working full-time overtime since the start of mass production to offset the impact of production efficiency on shipments,” he wrote.
Kuo said selling 500,000 units of the device this year “should not be challenging”, but noted that this represented a tiny fraction of Apple’s “massive” user base of 1.2 billion active users.
‘Very niche product’
“Right now, Vision Pro is still a very niche product,” he wrote.
Apple’s take on the virtual reality/augmented reality headset received positive initial reviews when it launched last June, with industry watchers praising its high-quality display and ease of use but criticising its $3,499 (£2,750) starting price tag.
Last week YouTube, Spotify and Netflix all said they would not offer apps for the Vision Pro at launch, in a blow to Apple, which has marketed the device’s entertainment capabilities.
YouTube and Netflix said their services would be available via the Vision Pro’s web browser, although this method offers reduced functionality – with Netflix users, for instance, being unable to download content for offline use.
Netflix opts out
The headset is designed to run iPad apps and these are listed on its app store by default, meaning that developers have to choose to deactivate them if they don’t want the apps to run on the Vision Pro.
The companies didn’t give a reason why they had deactivated their existing apps for the device, but Spotify’s decision was not related to its fight with Apple over app store fees, Bloomberg reported.
Netflix had said last July it would allow its iPad app to run on the headset.
In July the Financial Times reported that Apple had scaled back its 2024 production targets for the headset due to its complex manufacturing process, and was planning to make fewer than 400,000 units.