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What Vision Pro shipping times tell us about the demand for Apple's XR headset

Apple sold anywhere from 160,000 to 180,000 Vision Pro units during the first pre-order weekend. Here's how to place that number in context.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Vision Pro headset
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Despite a whopping $3,499 starting price, Apple's mixed reality Vision Pro headset flew off the virtual pre-order shelves this past weekend, selling out of existing stock, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a report published on Medium. Based on existing inventory and shipping times, Kuo estimates that Apple sold anywhere from 160,000 to 180,000 Vision Pro units during the first pre-order weekend.

Following the quick sell out of pre-order inventory, shipping times for the Vision Pro jumped to five to seven weeks within the first few hours, according to Kuo. Such intense demand certainly seems like a positive sign for the expensive headset. But Kuo questions whether that demand is sustainable.

Also: Apple Vision Pro: 9 reasons people give for ordering the $3,500 headset

One concerning factor for Apple is that shipping times for the Vision Pro remained at the same level 48 hours after pre-orders started, Kuo said. That could indicate a drop in demand after core fans and heavy users had placed their orders. In contrast, shipping times for new and popular iPhones typically continue to increase even 24 to 48 hours after pre-orders begin, a clear sign of growing demand.

On the plus side, certain Apple supply chain partners are pushing hard to meet the initial Vision Pro demand. As one example cited by Kuo, Chinese electronic components maker Luxshare will work overtime during the Lunar New Year (February 10) to catch up with demand. However, Luxshare employees have already been putting in overtime hours as part of a push to improve the production process for the Vision Pro.

Also: Should you pre-order Apple Vision Pro? These 5 questions can help you decide

Kuo still expects Apple to ship around 500,000 Vision Pro units this year. But with the demand seemingly tapering off, the analyst said that sales in other markets and application updates could affect this year's shipments. Ultimately, demand remains a key question mark as the Vision Pro "is still a very niche product," the analyst added.

Scheduled to hit the shelves on Friday, February 2, the Vision Pro will initially be available only in the US, both at physical Apple Stores and Apple's shopping website. A model with 256GB of storage will start at $3,499, with the 512GB version starting at $3,699 and the 1TB edition selling for $3,899.

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