Preordering the Apple Vision Pro? You'll have these hoops to jump through

Apple users will need to provide a face scan before preordering the device. Glasses wearers have an extra challenge. And non-Apple users are likely out of luck.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Apple Vision Pro and ChatGPT (year-end 2023)
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

We're less than a month away from the launch of Apple's highly anticipated Vision Pro augmented reality headset, and details are starting to emerge about the pre-order process for the new device.

Also: I tried Apple Vision Pro and it's far ahead of where I expected

Early speculation is that the Vision Pro will be very limited at launch, so if you want one you'll probably need to be quick when it drops. However, it doesn't appear this will be a quick process.

There are two major things to note. First, if you're an Apple user, you'll have some hoops to jump through to pre-order – it's not as simple as clicking the buy button. And second, if you're not an Apple user, you may be out of luck entirely.

When you order an Apple Vision Pro, the company said, you'll need to scan your face with an iPhone or iPad with Face ID. This helps make sure the light seal and headbands are the proper fit. To do so, you'll need the latest version of the Apple Store app, which was released on January 11. 

Why is Apple doing this? A face scan to ensure fit sounds useful, but if pre-order is as competitive as expected, those seconds or even minutes will matter. There's a fair chance, I think, that this is just a measure to fight scalpers looking to scoop up the devices and resell them at a premium, thereby effectively locking out non-Apple users from making their first foray into the Apple ecosystem.

Would it be possible for a non-Apple user to preorder through a friend's phone? That's unclear, but given how closely tied to an Apple ID this process is, that scenario seems complicated at best. If you're a non-Apple user who absolutely must have the headset, you could of course buy an older iPad or iPhone secondhand to at least get in the door.

Also: Here's what Apple's Vision Pro prescription lenses look like

Additionally, since the device is designed to be worn without glasses, you'll need to have your actual prescription handy when you preorder. Apple said it has partnered with Zeiss to create custom optical inserts that fit most prescriptions. During the order process, you'll be asked if you need these. But, your own word isn't good enough. If you do need specialty lenses, you'll need to upload a valid, unexpired prescription from an eye care professional.

Of course, those lenses come with a cost. If you need simple reading glasses, you'll add $99 to your total. If you need prescription lenses, add $149. But hey, what's $149 on a $3,499 device.?

Pre-orders begin on January 19.

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