Vision Pro returns aren’t as bad as we feared


Apple Vision Pro: Side View
It seems way, way fewer people return Vision Pro than you might think.
Screenshot: Apple

Very few Vision Pro units are being returned to Apple, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He pegs the Vision Pro return rate at less than 1%, which flies in the face of previous reports that many of the headsets bought by early adopters would wind up in the refurbished bins.

The reason Kuo states for a large percentage of those Vision Pro returns is even more surprising!

Kuo: Vision Pro return rate is less than 1%

Released earlier this month, Vision Pro is Apple’s first foray into what the company calls “spatial computing.” The headset focuses on augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated content onto the real world. While its bleeding-edge technology draws praise, the $3,500 price remains a drawback.

Two weeks after the Vision Pro launch, reports began to surface that lots of early buyers were returning the device. These were based on non-scientific polls and social-media posts.

But Kuo — who Cult of Mac dubbed “the best Apple analyst on the planet” back in 2015 — weighed in Wednesday with a much more positive report.

“According to my inspection of the repair/refurbishment production line, the current return rate for Vision Pro is less than 1%, with no anomalies,” he wrote on Medium.

And the analyst added, “It is worth noting that 20–30% of the returns are due to users not knowing how to set up Vision Pro.”

Apple AR headset is part of a ‘niche market’

Despite the encouraging news, Apple’s cutting-edge AR headset reportedly remains a niche product, like its competitors.

Kuo also pointed out that Apple has nearly caught up with demand for the Vision Pro. Orders placed today arrive in early March. And the delay seems to be the result of an early surge in buying — orders placed weeks ago were also scheduled to arrive in early March.

The analyst’s latest research note predicted, “U.S. shipments are expected to be 200,000–250,000 units this year, better than Apple’s original estimate of 150,000–200,000 units, but this is still a niche market.”

And he doesn’t expect that to change unless there’s a price cut for Vision Pro, or a killer app emerges.

The product is still only available in the United States, but Kuo thinks Apple will introduce the AR headset in additional countries before WWDC24 in June. There’s clearly demand, considering how many Chinese businesses are renting units by the hour.


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