Vision Pro demand | Display model in Apple Store

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Vision Pro demand is higher than Apple originally expected, with US shipments expected to hit 200-250k units this year.

While there was speculation about how many people only bought Vision Pro to experience it before sending it back it at the end of the 14-day return window, he estimates that the current return rate has dropped to just 1% …

Kuo noted that shipping times peaked at well over a month, with some pre-orders placed on January 19 getting shipping dates into early March. This has since reduced to just a few days, suggesting that production is now keeping pace with demand.

Vision Pro shipping time has now improved to 3–5 days (early March). The shipping time after pre-orders opened on 19 January was in early March, meaning that although Vision Pro sold out after pre-orders opened due to early adopters buying it, demand for the device declined rapidly and has stayed the same.

Vision Pro demand higher than expected

He said that current estimates of 2024 sales are considerably higher than Apple originally expected, though the ranges he cites are large.

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.

Apple has asked suppliers to increase production, which Kuo believes is due to a mix of relatively high US demand and plans to roll out sales to other countries in the coming months.

Returns now less than 1%

Kuo says that he’s been able to visit a production line devoted to the repair and refurbishment of Vision Pro returns, and that his analysis suggests return rates are now below 1%. This suggests that, with the initial launch hype behind it, those buying the product today have a good idea of what they are buying and why.

No sign yet of a cheaper model

It’s widely believed that Vision Pro was Apple’s attempt to produce the most impressive product, with limited concern over the cost of the device. The company is expected to follow up with a lower cost model which will likely drop the EyeSight feature as part of its cost savings.

Kuo says that his supply-chain investigations have so far found no evidence of this, and he therefore believes work on a cheaper model is not yet officially underway.

9to5Mac’s Take

As we’ve noted before, Kuo was once the most reliable Apple analyst around, with rock-solid supply chain sources, but now posts a great deal of speculation. My interpretation is that his change of employment means that he no longer gets to spend so much time on the ground in China talking with Apple suppliers.

Certainly the wide ranges he cites for both Apple’s expectations, and current trends, seem much more indicative of an educated guess than anything based on hard data.

On the 1% return rate, insight into the number of units being refurbished is helpful, but you can’t express that as a percentage unless you know sales numbers – and Kuo doesn’t. I am, though, willing to believe that return rates will have dropped to negligible levels now that we’re past the point of being just wanting to try it out for themselves.

As for the international rollout, there have been reports of launching in China in April or May, and it seems likely that it will launch in Europe either before then or at the same time. It does look like those in some other countries may not have too long to wait.

Photo by Mylo Kaye on Unsplash

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