April 13, 2024

Tech bros were vocal with stories about why they were returning their Apple Vision Pros earlier in February. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo found that nearly a third of returns were because users couldn’t figure out how to set up the $3,500 newfangled technology.

“It is noteworthy that about 20–30% of users who return their products do so because they do not know how to set up Vision Pro,” said Kuo in a translated analyst note on Wednesday.

Kuo’s investigation finds that just 1% of Vision Pro owners returned their headsets, which is fairly standard, and less frequent than lengthy essays on social media would have you believe. However, a good portion of these returns are because users don’t know how to operate Apple’s spatial computing headset. Apple’s products are renowned for their intuitive user interfaces, like the iPhone and Mac, but it seems the Vision Pro might be missing the mark in this respect.

“Intuitive by design,” is one of Apple’s slogans for Mac computers. “Mac is designed to be easy to learn and use – so you can do more than you ever imagined,” says Apple’s website.

But Apple’s first VR headset has some less-than-obvious features that might be confusing users. Vision Pro uses eye-tracking technology to control a cursor in Apple’s spatial computing realm. While this should be more intuitive than using a mouse, it has limitations.

If you want to browse your apps, you need to press a physical button on the headset, which takes you out of the spatial computing experience. To open your control center, you have to look up towards a tiny arrow on the ceiling. And if you forget your password, you may have to visit the Apple store to reset it. For $3,500, some users are finding it’s not worth the trouble.

The Apple analyst also says demand is now slowing for the Vision Pro. Shipping times for Apple’s premiere headset have improved to just 3-5 days, whereas shipping estimates during pre-orders were over a month. Apple is expected to sell more Vision Pros this year than the company original forecasted, according to Kuo, though it still appears to be a niche market.

Kuo expects the Vision Pro to remain a niche product for several years. He says Apple may not release a lower-priced, mass-produced model until 2027. However, Apple seems to be putting more designers on the Vision Pro team since it nixed plans for a long-awaited Apple Car.