Want to try Apple's new VR/AR headset? Get in line

Renderings of the rumored Apple VR/AR headset
(Image credit: Concept Central/YouTube)

The new Apple VR/AR headset will almost certainly be the headliner at WWDC 2023. But if you want to try it for yourself, you may need to wait. In fact, you might be waiting for a long time.

9to5Mac is suggesting that you may need an Apple Store appointment to try out the new headset — which could be called the Apple Reality Pro. This is based on reports that stores only expect to sell one unit (per shop) per day, and the speculation that the Apple VR/AR headset could be treated similarly to the gold Apple Watch Edition — thanks to its $3,000 price tag.

To be clear, this is entirely speculation, but there are reasons to think that 9to5Mac’s assertions have validity. As previously mentioned, the Apple Watch Edition did require booking a one-hour appointment to try on the niche wearable. And while the Apple Watch Edition’s $10,000+ price tag was certainly a tier beyond the $3,000 we expect the Apple headset to cost, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the headset treated as a similarly niche product.

Especially if recent sales forecasts are to be believed. A recent report hinted that the Apple VR/AR headset may only sell 300,000 units in its first year. So the Reality Pro isn’t exactly projected to fly off the shelves, which could lead to Apple not making it a focal point on the showroom floor of its retail stores. Plus, given the novelty of the product, forcing customers to experience it with a trained staff member could be wiser than letting users become frustrated trying it out solo. 

A secluded or private appointment space, one that reduces the possible number of appointments per day, would also make sense. This way you'd reduce the din of a retail store during daytime, thus protecting the intimate experience of using a headset.

This could all add up to appointments being hard-to-book, as natural curiosity spikes. This could almost help Apple: the harder it is to book a try-on appointment, the more people could feel like they need to try (and possibly buy) one for themselves.

Either way, we won’t know when you can start booking appointments until the headset is officially announced — likely at WWDC next week. Then you’ll likely need to wait until the fall when the headset finally launches. So stay tuned for more updates. 

What the Apple VR/AR headset could look like

Speaking of speculation, we still have no idea what the Apple mixed reality headset will actually look like. But thanks to a pair of renders, we have some reference points. 

First, we have a stylish render from Marcus Kane that showed up at the beginning of May 2023. This visual shows a sleek, ski-google-like headset connected to an external battery pack in a leather carrying case. 

According to reports, Apple is ditching a built-in battery for the sake of comfort, which pivots to an external solution. Kane’s render makes that possibility look aesthetically pleasing, even if it’s still a disappointment. 

Then just a few days ago, the YouTube channel Concept Central dropped a video render of the new headset in collaboration with AppleTrack. While this render appears a bit different, it shows a lot of the same core features. The battery pack is missing, but there is a charging port for where it would attach. The Reality Dial is there as well, which is rumored to allow users to swap between virtual reality and augmented reality modes.

Thankfully, we only have a few days left before we see once and for all what Apple’s first virtual reality headset will look like. Personally, I’m just hoping that rumors of a front display that will show your eyes aren’t true. But you’ll need to stay tuned to our WWDC coverage to know for sure. 

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.