Apple Vision Pro owners are announcing they’re returning their headsets because they’re disappointed by the experience offered by the $ 3,500 mixed-reality gadget.
We’ve highlighted the positives and negatives of using the device in our Apple Vision Pro review, but if you’re still on the fence then the reasons people are giving for returning could help you decide if the headset is the right fit for you.
It also might be worth starting to keep an eye on the Apple Store’s refurbished section. While it’ll likely be a while before the Vision Pro appears – and it’ll probably still be fairly pricey – you might be able to buy one of these returned Vision Pros for a discount in the future.
As an aside, we’ve been impressed with Apple’s refurbished tech; the checks and replacements it makes mean you’re basically getting a new gadget at a lower price so it’s worth checking its refurb store for the Vision Pro or any other piece of Apple tech you’re after before just buying new – provided you aren’t after something super recent.
Anyway, let’s get into why the Vision Pro headset is being returned.
The end of a (trial) era
There are individual reasons people will be looking to return the Apple Vision Pro, and we’ll get to those, but the main reason you’ll be seeing social media post after social media post on the topic right now is because of Apple’s returns policy.
When you buy a new Apple product from its store you have 14 days to be able to send it back and get a full refund. The Apple Vision Pro launched on February 2 so at the time of writing we’re at that two-week mark.
If someone has decided the experience isn’t perfect enough for them to part with $ 3,500 – or more if they bought a model with bigger storage – then it’s getting to the stage where they either have to live with that subpar experience or send the device back.
Comfort is king
As for the specific Apple Vision faults, a lot of people’s problems come down to comfort.
When you’re spending as much as you’re spending on the Vision Pro you’ll probably feel the need to use it a lot to feel your purchase is justified. But as we heard from some early test events that media were invited to the device could be uncomfortable to wear for long stretches – especially when using the Solo Loop band that offers zero over-the-head support.
On top of complaints that it’s too heavy people have said it can cause motion sickness and eye strain. These issues also exist for other VR headsets – especially among people who are new to VR – but the Vision Pro may exacerbate these problems as, again, people are probably immersing themselves for very long stretches to feel like they’re getting the most out of the headset.
Not only in terms of bang for their buck but also for productivity and watching films – the two main Vision Pro uses. Blockbusters can stretch on for two hours or longer, and typical work shifts are eight hours. Even if you are just sitting looking at virtual windows this is a very long time for new users to be spending in VR without long breaks.
What does it do?
The other frequently cited issue we’ve seen on social media is the lacking software ecosystem.
The Vision Pro does have a lot of apps (over 1,000 at the time of writing) at its disposal and has some really neat features. But as many reviewers have pointed out – such as The Verge – the majority of those programs are ported over from iPadOS.
There are some bespoke spatial apps and improvements have been made to make the iPad programs feel more interactive in mixed reality, but when people think of VR software they imagine epic immersive gaming like Asgard’s Wrath 2, fitness apps like Supernatural, or educational adventures like Out of Scale from Kurzgesagt.
The Vision Pro doesn’t have a good answer (or in some cases any answer at all) to these apps that you can find on rival platforms, and unfortunately for Apple, this is something that will take time to change. And if it seems like all you’re getting are iPad apps, why not save a lot of money and just buy an iPad – or even an iPad Pro?
Given that people have to decide to keep or send the device back for a refund now it’s a lot safer to assume the software problems will persist until the next headset or two launch rather than pray some killer exclusive apps are on the horizon and risk wasting $ 3,500.
More to the story?
Remember it’s worth taking the posts you see with a pinch or two of salt – and remembering that most people who bought a Vision Pro are probably keeping it.
Apple tech has a lot of devout fans and haters who will engage with every single post they see about people returning the Vision Pro because it either affirms their negative view or because they feel the need to defend the 2.8 trillion dollar company. No matter how someone chooses to respond to the post, their interaction will boost engagement and amplify the voice of what is very likely a minority of Vision Pro users sending the headset back.
We also wouldn’t be surprised if a chunk of people returning the headset always planned to send it back for a refund, and are just giving whatever excuse they can that isn’t “because I can’t actually afford it.”
Apple’s Vision Pro has, as many expected, created a buzz online with post after post going viral – be they someone giving their hands-on impressions, or finding a weird way to use it like that person who walked their robot dog down the street while sporting the Apple headset. There’s also just a certain level of perceived internet clout that comes from being able to show off that you own and have used a $ 3,500 device.
Once you’ve soaked up that early hype and boosted traffic to your socials do you want to be left with a $ 3,500 hole in your wallet? Or would you rather get the boosted attention and not have to spend a dime?
That’s not to say there aren’t some genuine issues with the Vision Pro, but don’t let all these reports necessarily put you off if you’ve tried it yourself, love it, and want to own one. As these posts have made clear, you do have just under 14 days to use it at home before you’re locked out from a full refund if you decide the Vision Pro isn’t for you after all.