Try-Before-You-Buy Vision Pro

People are returning Vision Pro in droves ... or are they?
With the two-week window for Vision Pro returns rapidly closing, many early adopters seem ready to take their headsets back to Apple.

As the article notes, it's impossible to know the true return rate of the Vision Pro right now. And I'm pretty sure Apple is not going to let it slip – unless it's far better than what these anecdotal reports would seem to indicate. Then we'll get a very strategic leak that the return percentages are no different than other Apple products, which is to say "low", or something like that.

But I suspect the return rates are pretty high, relatively speaking. There are also lots of anecdotal data in my social feeds indicating as such. But you can also probably chalk up many of the above-average return numbers (again, assuming they are above-average) to some unique properties of the device.

While Apple offers their great "no questions asked" 14-day return policy for basically all their products, very few are brand new product types that people may just want to try out before they buy. That's exactly the camp the Vision Pro is in. You could buy a brand new MacBook Pro to try it out and return it, but what's the point of that? You know what you're getting. Everyone knows what you're getting. No one cares what you're getting. Which leads to...

Even "worse", as Kahney notes, in the age of YouTubers, Apple's return policy mixed with a brand new, hot device which people are interested in means you not only get a round of "free" reviews of this device, but you perhaps get another boost of "free" content when you return the device.1

This includes a lot of content creators. They had two weeks to flex their new Vision Pros, just long enough for the public’s early interest to die down. Plus, these are the kind of people with large social media footprints — and whose posts about returning the headset are currently getting amplified.

And then there's the fact that the Vision Pro is very expensive, relatively speaking. Even if the device was perfect, $3,500 is going to give many people pause. Especially as the ecosystem around the device is still coming into focus. And if you are still intrigued but not $3,500 intrigued:

All of the headsets being returned likely will be cleaned up, repackaged and sold on Apple’s online store in a few weeks or months — at a pretty good discount.

Speaking of focus, the other interesting element here are the comfort issues with the device. Beyond the heaviness, I do find myself most wondering what it's actually doing to my eyes. Perhaps this is pseudo-science drilled into my brain from years of being told not to sit too close to the TV, but well, your eyes are awfully close to that TV! Mere inches.

Verge product manager Parker Ortolani apparently burst a blood vessel in his eye from use. That's... not great. But it is a great reason to return the Vision Pro, which he is doing. As he notes, most people aren't having this extreme of a reaction, thankfully, I have not, but I do find myself with fairly "sore" eyes after an hour or two of usage. Maybe this changes with time. Maybe this is the fact that I'm often using it in low light. I don't know. But I know I'm thinking about this quite a bit.

It's sort of weird that more people aren't at least talking about what having intense light shot right into your eyes for extended periods of time, taking up your entire point of view, is actually doing to your eyes. Or your brain. Again, maybe I sound like a loon here. But I'm just asking questions!

For the record, I'm not returning my Vision Pro. I think there are at least two or three experiences on the device which I would deem to be worth it alone – more on those soon! Of course, "worth it" is relative. And $3,500 is expensive. Hence, all of the above.

Update from 2/18:

Vision Prorated
Why Some of Apple’s Biggest Fans Are Returning Their Vision ProsThe Apple Vision Pro has now been available for two weeks — and some of Apple’s most dedicated customers are returning the device to get back their $3,500. Also: Apple’s longest-serving product designer retires, and the company

1 I'm the guy who once upon a time threw the first Microsoft Surface tablet in the waste basket. People still bring up that post. There's no hotter "take" than shitting on something. Of course, you can only really do that if the negativity is warranted. Time proved it to be for that particular Surface -- thanks for nothing, Windows RT. Time still has yet to tell for the Vision Pro, of course.