Apple Vision Pro on a purple background

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Last night, I finally placed my order for the Apple Vision Pro. Although I’m not yet convinced there are standalone productivity uses for this thing, I do want to write about it, so I bit the bullet.

Review: Apple Vision Pro: Fascinating, flawed, and needs to fix 5 things

I hesitated to place the order because even though I need it for work, it’s the price of a used Honda, with monthly payments about the same as a car payment for a new Honda.

When I logged into my account, I didn’t know how long it would take for me to get my device once the order was placed. Back in January, Apple was estimating shipping dates in March, a two-month lead time.

With a product as new and expensive as the Vision Pro, everyone is really curious about how popular (or unpopular) the product is. Apple, of course, doesn’t release any numbers. With an absence of vendor-provided data, there does seem to be a fair bit of interest in delivery times and backlogs as proxies for measuring popularity.

Another way to measure popularity is returns flow. Apple has a 14-day return policy, so first-day adopters had until Feb. 17 to return their $3,500 gadget purchase.

Also: 7 reasons why people are returning Apple Vision Pro, according to Reddit

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who is a historically reliable source of Apple data, returns are at average or above average for Apple products, depending on the location. He says some smaller stores are seeing one or two returns a day, whereas larger stores have seen as many as eight returns a day.

So, some of the very early adopters are returning their units, for a fairly wide variety of reasons, as ZDNET’s Maria Diaz reports.

But what about availability? If you want a Vision Pro right now, how long do you have to wait? That’s what I found out.

Plenty of stock in stores

Apple doesn’t show availability or delivery times until you’ve gone through the ordering process, all the way to the point where you’re selecting the memory configuration of the machine. Because there’s no way of changing the memory configuration, there are individual SKUs for 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB units.

Like Senior Reviews Editor Kerry Wan, I went with the 512GB unit for an extra $200. He reasoned that he’s going to be downloading and testing a lot of apps and video, and that’s the same usage pattern I’m going to have.

Also: Apple Vision Pro: 9 reasons people give for ordering the $3,500 headset

When I went through the ordering process and chose the 512GB option, and the availability information opened up, that was only the availability information for the 512GB SKUs. Apple probably sells more 256GB units than 512GB units, so it’s a fair guess that even more of the less expensive units are in stock in stores. Even so, I found that all the stores in the Washington State and Oregon area showed “Available Tomorrow” for the 512GB units.

Because I was placing this order at 11 p.m., “Available Tomorrow” really means as soon as you wake up, you can drive to the Apple Store you ordered it from and pick it right up.


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The ordering process showed a long list of available stores in both Washington State and Oregon, and as far as I could scroll, I found “Available Tomorrow” for in-store pickup available.

By the way, I want to say something about Apple’s placement of its stores. Here in Oregon, Apple has three stores, all within a 20-minute drive of each other. They’re all in the very northwestern corner of the state.

Also: How to return the Apple Vision Pro

Drive time from here in Salem, the capital of the state, to the nearest Apple Store is about an hour and a half. Other large cities, like Eugene (2-hour drive), Bend (3.5-hour drive), and Medford (4.5-hour drive) don’t have Apple Stores. I know there’s a large population in the Portland area, but would it have killed the company to spread out access to its stores, especially when in-store visits are so fundamental to many purchase experiences?

In any case, I’m not buying my Vision Pro from a store. Although Apple recommends in-store sizing, there’s a way to do it at home for online orders. I’ll be covering that in my next article on the Vision Pro.

Online availability is also fairly immediate

I placed my order for delivery because I don’t want to have to go into an Apple Store. Personally, I don’t love the Apple Store experience, so I tend to limit my Apple purchases to The Online. To be fair, I’m not a big fan of in-person shopping, so I buy most things online.

Also: I recorded spatial videos to view on Vision Pro and Quest 3 and you can download them

In any case, Apple quoted my delivery time as from March 1 through March 7. That’s basically one week to two weeks away.


Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

In my experience, this is pretty normal. I’ve purchased many Apple products online. For long-established products which didn’t have any backlog, my orders have almost always been delivered within one to two weeks. Sometimes, ordering the newest hot iPhone, I’ve had to wait longer than that because everyone in the world wanted one at the same time right after it came out.

Is the Vision Pro a failure?

Here we are, barely three weeks after the Vision Pro started shipping, and availability seems to be pretty immediate. Clearly, there isn’t the backlog we often see in new Apple products.

Also: 10 reasons the Apple Vision Pro is secretly brilliant

But that’s not unexpected. There’s still no real strong use case for the Vision Pro, outside of people traveling or in cramped quarters. And it is brain-bleedingly bonkers expensive, especially for the value (or lack of immediate value) it presents.

This is essentially a concept prototype fielded to the general public to get to know and explore. Some of us, particularly those of us who want to write about it, or developers who want to write code for it, will clearly choose to incur the expense.

But regular folks? Unless someone is a big Apple fan and has a lot of disposable income, regular folks aren’t going to be buying this thing.

Also: I used the Apple Vision Pro for my 8-hour workday, and it left me wanting more

Fundamentally, we know that Apple built enough to provide units to those who want them, but that pool of people is far smaller with the Vision Pro than for the typical new Apple product.

That’s not a surprise.

And with that, stay tuned. I’ll be doing a lot of hands-on, eyes-in exploration of the Vision Pro over the coming months, and I’ll be sharing that with you here on ZDNET.

So, what about you? Did you buy a Vision Pro? Did you return it? Did you get it in a store or from the online ordering site? What was your experience like? Share it in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack, and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at, on Instagram at, and on YouTube at

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