My experience pre-ordering Apple Vision Pro may a sign of better things to come

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Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

I did the thing. I woke up yesterday morning to the “Apple alarm,” flipped open my laptop, went on Apple.com, and spammed Refresh until a little “Pre-order” button appeared in front of me. The rest was history, including $4,000 from my bank account that, I’d like to believe, was well spent. But something felt different.

Also: Pre-ordering Apple Vision Pro? These 5 questions can help you decide

See, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from pre-ordering Apple products over the past decade, it’s that they never go as planned. Whether it’s a color or storage option running out of stock, the website being down, or a fault of my own, buying the latest iPhone or MacBook has always felt more like a journey than, well, buying something online.

But with pre-ordering the Vision Pro that morning, everything just came and went, from the Light Seal fitting process to configuring the storage size to setting an appointment time for picking up the headset. Here’s the full timeline.

7:55 am ET – It was previously reported that an Apple device with Face ID would be required to order the Vision Pro, so I had my iPhone charged and ready.

8:00 am – The “Pre-order” button didn’t appear on the dot, but a few refreshes later, and I was in the buying portal for the Vision Pro. First step: Measuring my face for the Light Seal and headbands. A QR code appeared on the screen, prompting me to scan it with my Face ID-supported device. I wasn’t required to use an iPhone or iPad that was linked to my iCloud, so it’s safe to assume that if one were to buy the Vision Pro in person from the Apple Store, an associate would have a device in hand for this step.

Also: Apple Vision Pro’s $199 Travel Case revealed – and it looks weirdly cozy

8:02 am – Like setting a Face ID lock on your iPhone or iPad, I moved my head in a circular motion — right, up, left, down — until all sides were marked as properly scanned. I did this twice.

8:03 am – Next up, selecting my Zeiss Optical Inserts. I’ve used a similar (if not the same) pair with my Meta Quest 3 and the headset experience became much more comfortable, so I was glad to see it available for the Vision Pro. If you don’t wear glasses or contacts and haven’t had surgery that resulted in monovision, you won’t be required to purchase the additional accessory. For those like me who wear glasses or contacts, a questionnaire will appear to help decide if you need readers or prescription lenses. Note that you don’t have to upload your prescriptions at this point. That’s done after you make the purchase, which saved me a lot of time.

8:05 am – For storage size, I went with the 512GB option ($200 extra), knowing how much memory spatial videos and immersive applications can take — and not knowing what other use cases I’d have for the headset.

8:06 am – As someone who lives their consumer life dangerously, I chose not to opt into the $499 AppleCare+ plan.

8:07 am – I typically have my Apple products delivered to avoid the long pick-up lines, but for something as valuable and potentially fragile as the Vision Pro, I decided to retrieve the device by hand this time. Surprisingly, my nearest Apple Stores had plenty of flexibility with appointments, so I picked the earliest time available on Friday, February 2nd, and made the purchase.

Also: The most expensive Apple Vision Pro configuration is not as crazy as I thought

So, was it a lack of demand, or did Apple gird its web servers for days like this? I’d say it was the latter because, at the time of this writing, Vision Pro delivery estimates continue to be pushed back, and back, and back. The big takeaway was that for the first time in a long time, pre-ordering an Apple product — one as complicated as the Vision Pro — felt less cumbersome than it should’ve been, and I’m sure it’ll get even better with time, with this product and many others from the Cupertino company.





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