As noted by MacRumors, at least 70 of Apple’s retail stores in the U.S. will be closing earlier than usual on Sunday, according to Apple’s website. Most of Apple’s other retail stores across the country already have reduced hours on Sundays.
This is likely to prepare for the launch of the Apple Vision Pro, which can be pre-ordered tomorrow and should arrive in stores on Friday, Feb. 1.
In a Jan. 7 “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that, with Apple’s Vision Pro launch, imminent Apple retail stores are entering preparation mode.
“The device is already shipping in small quantities to warehouses across the US before distribution to Apple retail stores, with the company believing it’ll have enough supply stateside by the end of January for a launch by February,” he writes. “I expect Apple to make an announcement related to the Vision Pro in the next week or so to take some of the spotlight away from CES, which begins Tuesday in Las Vegas.”
Gurman also added that:
- Two to four retail employees from Apple stores across the US are already flying to Cupertino for secret trainings for a new product. While Apple isn’t telling employees what the product is, it’s obviously the Vision Pro. The idea is these workers will learn how to sell the device and then return to their markets to teach everyone else. These will also be the point people that help customers try the device and make the sale.
- On Jan. 21, all US stores will be holding rare, three-hour meetings for all employees. Retail workers believe these meetings will be when training takes place and sales procedures will be discussed. Further trainings are planned in the following days. Later that week and the following week, retail stores will be receiving new inventory racks and changing out backroom equipment.
- Last month, Luxshare held a delivery ceremony marking getting the Vision Pro out the door. That’s the China-based manufacturing partner actually building the headset for Apple. Over the past couple weeks, Apple has filed design patents for every hardware and software element of the device, suggesting an impending launch.
The remaining question around the Vision Pro is if Apple will offer online pre-orders from the get-go. Gurman’s guess is you’ll be able to reserve a Vision Pro on Apple.com, create an appointment time, then go to your closest Apple store to get fitted with the right light seal, band and cushioning.
“This will require a face scan app, which at some point Apple could release to online-only customers to allow purchases without going to a store,” Gurman said. “But it’s plausible proper pre-orders for shipment to customer homes won’t be available at the initial launch.”
He also said that in-store demos of the Vision Pro will take 20-25 minutes. Why?
Gurman says Apple has prepared its “most sophisticated sales pitch ever, including a demo lasting up to 25 minutes. Ae retail employee will allow users to place the device on their own heads. Once the headset is on, customers will need to calibrate the device with various tracking and tapping exercises so it can follow their eyes and hands. That includes looking at circular dot patterns set at different brightness levels and a hand scan in the field of vision of the device.