So far, the early return rate on Apple Vision Pro is pretty low

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro edited February 16

As it is a polarizing product, there are obviously some returns of Apple Vision Pro headsets. So far, the narrative that it is being returned in droves to Apple Retail appears false.

Apple Vision Pro retail box, sitting in a passenger's seat of a car, maybe getting returned
Apple Vision Pro return rates are hard to parse



When opinions on a product are as wide-ranging as they are on Apple Vision Pro, you've got to expect some disappointment from some. And with that disappointment, comes returns.

Apple's generous return policies don't exactly discourage this kind of thing. Apple allows returns to be made within 14 days of purchase for just about any reason, assuming that you're returning the product complete.

The narrative started on Wednesday that return season was here, citing Twitter sources and complaints about the headset. They're all reasonable complaints by the returners -- but to hold a them up as a sign of mass returns isn't.

With the help of sources inside Apple's retail chain at 24 mostly US east coast stores, I've been keeping an eye on return volumes as best as I can for the last week. So far, there doesn't appear to be that much in the way of returns, and certainly not a cataclysmic flood.

As of publication, at about 1PM Eastern Time on February 16, the rate that Apple Vision Pro is being returned doesn't seem to be any higher than other Apple products.

I'm going to precede these quotes with a unified statement on them all. All of these folks would get so incredibly fired should Apple figure out who they are, so they will not be named. To anybody.

What Apple employees are telling me about Apple Vision Pro returns



"We've had a few in a few days, not outside the normal range for new stuff across the entire region," one senior Apple Retail employee that we've been talking to for over a decade who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company told me on Friday morning. "Maybe like not-pro iPhone levels, proportionately, two weeks after release?"

Other sources inside retail told me that Apple appeared to expect a high return rate, given in-store support documentation on the matter. Still, though, the surge doesn't appear to have happened.

"We've got a checklist we got given to follow on returns, make sure all the pieces are there, the packaging is intact, and that kind of thing," another source at another store told me. "I think I've used it twice this week."

I don't have any visibility as it pertains to online returns. There's no reason to believe that returns through that channel are any higher proportionally to that at retail, though.

And, it's hard to get data for a return rate. I don't know how many units have sold in total at retail, nor have a good idea how many have been sold per store.

Data collection is further complicated by the fact that online sales tend to get returned at retail, more often than the other way around.

"When the [Apple Silicon] Mac Pro shipped, we only sold a couple," the senior source told me. "Most of the returns we had for it were bought online. That's the same with Apple Vision Pro, so far."

All I can do right now is base the conclusion on what the retail folks who have been handling this kind of return for some time can tell us about the situation. Apple itself isn't ever going to say, or give data.

Who is returning the Apple Vision Pro?



Beyond buyer's remorse for a $3500 purchase, there are two main groups that are returning the product. The first group is buyers that immediately have a biological incompatibility with the headset.

"Most of our returns, by far, are within a day or two. They're the folks that get sick using it," one source told me, echoing what I've heard for a week from others. "The pukers, the folks that get denied by prescription-filling, that kind of thing. They know real quick."

There other major return segment of the tech-using public appears to be media producers who are using the purchase as a free rental. When I asked who seemed to be returning the headset the most, we got a clear answer.

"It's just the f***ing YouTubers so far," one retail employee exasperatedly told me late on Thursday.

I was amused by the vehemence of the response, and so was rest of the AppleInsider staff when I shared it in our Slack. So, I asked other Apple retail staffers about it.

"Oh yeah, those guys, yeah. Every product, every time," one contact said to me. "I'm going to hunt you down if I hear you returned yours."

To the source above, since I know you read: the image starting off this piece is purely representative.

February 16 is the two-week deadline from first-day receipt of the headset. We'll be keeping an eye on this tonight and over the weekend, and will update accordingly, should the situation change.

And, in case you were wondering, we aren't returning any across the AppleInsider staff.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Ever since the speculation that Apple sold 160-200k units of AVP surfaced there have been two conspiracies floated to dismiss the sales numbers. 

    The first is what you are stating here, the return rate would be astronomical. This one seemed to be predicated on the idea that people would plunk down 3500 grand just to try the thing and had no intention to keep them. 

    The second, and I even stranger, is that it was You Tubers who wanted to do a review so they could get clicks and then would return it. 

    As the article states this is a polarizing product and I guess that helps drive the wacky conspiracies. 

    * I use the word conspiracies because both claims are sans any sort of data to back them up. Further they are data less claims in response to unconfirmed sales numbers. Nothing says conspiracy like making up convoluted explanations  to explain something that may or may not be accurate in the first place. 
  • Reply 2 of 48

    What Apple employees are telling me about Apple Vision Pro returns


    seriously, you need to ask from other people, not from apple for god sake :facepalm
    williamlondonlarryagrandact73
  • Reply 3 of 48
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    miiwtwo said:

    What Apple employees are telling me about Apple Vision Pro returns


    seriously, you need to ask from other people, not from apple for god sake :facepalm
    Right, because social media claims with hyperbole about MY APPLE VISION BLEW OUT MY EYES AND KILLED MY CAT are reliable. These are folks I've been speaking to for years.

    What you got in text underneath that section is exactly what the headline promised.

    This isn't a piece about WHY Apple Vision Pro is getting returned. This is a piece about HOW MANY.
    edited February 16 avon b713485gregoriusmwilliamlondonmacxpressStrangeDayslolliverrueqwerty52ForumPost
  • Reply 4 of 48
    omasouomasou Posts: 592member
    I'm going to take a WAG and say there were YouTuber purchases attempting to jump on the hype and then again w/"5 reasons I returned my AVP". /s
    williamlondontmaylolliver
  • Reply 5 of 48
    You don’t necessarily have to return the item in person to the store today. You just need to go online or call and submit an RMA request.
    gregoriusmwilliamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 6 of 48
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    You don’t necessarily have to return the item in person to the store today. You just need to go online or call and submit an RMA request.
    Right. This is mostly covered in the piece, minus the RMA details.

    Fact remains, retail gets a lot of online purchase returns and historically it has not been the other way around.
    williamlondonmacxpresslolliverruemuthuk_vanalingamForumPost
  • Reply 7 of 48
    It's a shame that across all social media platforms today so much misinformation is spread and if it gets said enough times, people start to believe it even if it's not even remotely true and then you get the keyboard warrior Apple haters taking these BS stories and running when them.

    And bloggers are the worst...anything to get clicks and views! Why anyone would take blogger's word for certain things is beyond me. It's the shitty new way of journalism and I can't stand it. 

    I do wonder how many will return it, only to repurchase it on the refurb store knowing they're just getting a discount on it basically?
    edited February 16
  • Reply 8 of 48
    You don’t necessarily have to return the item in person to the store today. You just need to go online or call and submit an RMA request.
    Right. This is mostly covered in the piece, minus the RMA details.

    Fact remains, retail gets a lot of online purchase returns and historically it has not been the other way around.
    And it makes sense that people would take it to the store to return it regardless of how they originally purchased it. So much easier and quicker for the customer. I would think Apple would prefer this as well. 
    edited February 16
  • Reply 9 of 48
    Bit of threadjack here, but I wonder if there is any way to tell if Zeiss can make my lens Rx before I buy an AVP, so as to be able to avoid the subsequent return. I read this article and if I can't actually use the AVP because of my vision disability, I'd like to know it. 

    Edit: wait. here it is: 

    https://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/us/zeiss-optical-inserts/prescription-guide.html#prescriptionchecker


    edited February 16 dewme
  • Reply 10 of 48
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,661member

    "It's just the f***ing YouTubers so far.”

    I feel like the author is channeling my exact thoughts. 

    Keep up the good work. 
    edited February 16 badmonkrueForumPost
  • Reply 11 of 48
    Cool article.  First one I've seen that even attempts to collect real data.   AVP is flawed, but I'm keeping mine.  The flaws bother me, but the tech is years ahead of anything like it (sorry zuck)
    ramanpfaffForumPost
  • Reply 12 of 48
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    macxpress said:
    You don’t necessarily have to return the item in person to the store today. You just need to go online or call and submit an RMA request.
    Right. This is mostly covered in the piece, minus the RMA details.

    Fact remains, retail gets a lot of online purchase returns and historically it has not been the other way around.
    And it makes sense that people would take it to the store to return it regardless of how they originally purchased it. So much easier and quicker for the customer. I would think Apple would prefer this as well. 
    That's how I'm returning mine. My reasoning is that I'd rather the "chain of custody" go to an Apple Store employee in an Apple Store over trusting that it won't be nicked by someone at FedEx and thereby me having to prove that I shipped back what I said I shipped back. The Zeiss lens inserts still require the FedEx shipping.
    ForumPost
  • Reply 13 of 48
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member

    visciousp said:
    Cool article.  First one I've seen that even attempts to collect real data.   AVP is flawed, but I'm keeping mine.  The flaws bother me, but the tech is years ahead of anything like it (sorry zuck)
    I wish I could justify keeping it. I still have over a week before my AVP is required to be returned and I'm not using it. When the latest visionOS update and news about more apps appeared I did my due diligence to see if it's something I'd want to keep but there still wasn't enough there. If they had more social aspects laid out I'd probably have kept it. Hopefully WWDC comes with some major updates in that regard.
    dewmeramanpfaffmuthuk_vanalingamgrandact73
  • Reply 14 of 48
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,838member
    Xed said:
    macxpress said:
    You don’t necessarily have to return the item in person to the store today. You just need to go online or call and submit an RMA request.
    Right. This is mostly covered in the piece, minus the RMA details.

    Fact remains, retail gets a lot of online purchase returns and historically it has not been the other way around.
    And it makes sense that people would take it to the store to return it regardless of how they originally purchased it. So much easier and quicker for the customer. I would think Apple would prefer this as well. 
    That's how I'm returning mine. My reasoning is that I'd rather the "chain of custody" go to an Apple Store employee in an Apple Store over trusting that it won't be nicked by someone at FedEx and thereby me having to prove that I shipped back what I said I shipped back. The Zeiss lens inserts still require the FedEx shipping.
    Just curious...why are you returning it?
  • Reply 15 of 48
    I figured it was a handful of vocal people. Of course people were quick to accept it as fact.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,417member
    This is shocking news. You mean to tell me that real people are actually deciding for themselves whether the Vision Pro is something they want to continue to be part of their lives? I would have figured they would simply accept what they read and hear from tech pundits as guidance for what they must do with their personal purchases. 

    The Vision Pro will live or die based on the value it delivers to people who buy it. There’s no reason to defend it or denigrate it, especially if you have no skin in the game. 
    mattinozmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,753member
    dewme said:
    This is shocking news. You mean to tell me that real people are actually deciding for themselves whether the Vision Pro is something they want to continue to be part of their lives? I would have figured they would simply accept what they read and hear from tech pundits as guidance for what they must do with their personal purchases. 

    The Vision Pro will live or die based on the value it delivers to people who buy it. There’s no reason to defend it or denigrate it, especially if you have no skin in the game. 
    I think defending it is OK as long as it's a realistic, balanced defence and not a knee-jerk reaction against any criticism. 

    I can't see any valid reason to denigrate it though.

    No VR/AR/XR product is ticking all the boxes to make it truly a 'must have' everyday item for consumers. 

    They are all running into the same well trodden issues. That is reasonable because it's a tough nut to crack with current technologies

    The key is that the industry as a whole is moving forward and knows full well where it wants to go.

    In that sense, upping the specs is definitely a plus, even if it comes at a price. The user will decide if the overall outlay justifies the purchase. 

    Returns are part of that process and YouTubers are part of that. It's nothing new. 

    On a wider note there is room for discussion on other areas which are again, well trodden. 

    For example, if traction via app creation is a business goal, then enticing developers to create native apps would be aided by having more devices to write for. 

    That begs the question of how long until a Vision SE without some bells and whistles? 

    There are rumours, but a sub $1,000, lower resolution, lower material quality, Eyesight-less device with controllers might have kick started the platform. 

    I'm very sure that was put on the table (and might still be there) but was voted down for 'comparative' reasons. 

    The upshot though, is that there are pros and cons to all the different strategies but everyone wins (down the road) if the product is put to market. That is the best route and cuts down on the time for it to become more consumer friendly with regards to price. 


    dewmemuthuk_vanalingamForumPost
  • Reply 18 of 48
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,417member
    avon b7 said:
    dewme said:
    This is shocking news. You mean to tell me that real people are actually deciding for themselves whether the Vision Pro is something they want to continue to be part of their lives? I would have figured they would simply accept what they read and hear from tech pundits as guidance for what they must do with their personal purchases. 

    The Vision Pro will live or die based on the value it delivers to people who buy it. There’s no reason to defend it or denigrate it, especially if you have no skin in the game. 
    I think defending it is OK as long as it's a realistic, balanced defence and not a knee-jerk reaction against any criticism. 

    I can't see any valid reason to denigrate it though.

    No VR/AR/XR product is ticking all the boxes to make it truly a 'must have' everyday item for consumers. 

    They are all running into the same well trodden issues. That is reasonable because it's a tough nut to crack with current technologies

    The key is that the industry as a whole is moving forward and knows full well where it wants to go.

    In that sense, upping the specs is definitely a plus, even if it comes at a price. The user will decide if the overall outlay justifies the purchase. 

    Returns are part of that process and YouTubers are part of that. It's nothing new. 

    On a wider note there is room for discussion on other areas which are again, well trodden. 

    For example, if traction via app creation is a business goal, then enticing developers to create native apps would be aided by having more devices to write for. 

    That begs the question of how long until a Vision SE without some bells and whistles? 

    There are rumours, but a sub $1,000, lower resolution, lower material quality, Eyesight-less device with controllers might have kick started the platform. 

    I'm very sure that was put on the table (and might still be there) but was voted down for 'comparative' reasons. 

    The upshot though, is that there are pros and cons to all the different strategies but everyone wins (down the road) if the product is put to market. That is the best route and cuts down on the time for it to become more consumer friendly with regards to price. 


    I mostly agree, but I’m more inclined to say the Vision Pro (or its accessories) does not need to be defended. It defends itself through the process of people buying it and staying with it wherever it goes. It’s a very personal product that needs to be evaluated at a very personal level. I’m not here try to either convince or dissuade anyone who hasn’t already jumped on it or decided that it wasn’t quite right for them. People should make up their own minds for themselves. Your own experience with the product is the only thing that matters. Give it a try and see where that leads you.
    tht
  • Reply 19 of 48
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    dewme said:
    avon b7 said:
    dewme said:
    This is shocking news. You mean to tell me that real people are actually deciding for themselves whether the Vision Pro is something they want to continue to be part of their lives? I would have figured they would simply accept what they read and hear from tech pundits as guidance for what they must do with their personal purchases. 

    The Vision Pro will live or die based on the value it delivers to people who buy it. There’s no reason to defend it or denigrate it, especially if you have no skin in the game. 
    I think defending it is OK as long as it's a realistic, balanced defence and not a knee-jerk reaction against any criticism. 

    I can't see any valid reason to denigrate it though.

    No VR/AR/XR product is ticking all the boxes to make it truly a 'must have' everyday item for consumers. 

    They are all running into the same well trodden issues. That is reasonable because it's a tough nut to crack with current technologies

    The key is that the industry as a whole is moving forward and knows full well where it wants to go.

    In that sense, upping the specs is definitely a plus, even if it comes at a price. The user will decide if the overall outlay justifies the purchase. 

    Returns are part of that process and YouTubers are part of that. It's nothing new. 

    On a wider note there is room for discussion on other areas which are again, well trodden. 

    For example, if traction via app creation is a business goal, then enticing developers to create native apps would be aided by having more devices to write for. 

    That begs the question of how long until a Vision SE without some bells and whistles? 

    There are rumours, but a sub $1,000, lower resolution, lower material quality, Eyesight-less device with controllers might have kick started the platform. 

    I'm very sure that was put on the table (and might still be there) but was voted down for 'comparative' reasons. 

    The upshot though, is that there are pros and cons to all the different strategies but everyone wins (down the road) if the product is put to market. That is the best route and cuts down on the time for it to become more consumer friendly with regards to price. 
    I mostly agree, but I’m more inclined to say the Vision Pro (or its accessories) does not need to be defended. It defends itself through the process of people buying it and staying with it wherever it goes. It’s a very personal product that needs to be evaluated at a very personal level. I’m not here try to either convince or dissuade anyone who hasn’t already jumped on it or decided that it wasn’t quite right for them. People should make up their own minds for themselves. Your own experience with the product is the only thing that matters. Give it a try and see where that leads you.
    I wonder if the younger generations, perhaps even generations that aren't born yet, will think it's odd that the one computing device that has unlimited user accounts that can be created so it be used by countless users is the one that we call the personal computer,.
    edited February 17 mattinoz
  • Reply 20 of 48
    avon b7 said: There are rumours, but a sub $1,000, lower resolution, lower material quality, Eyesight-less device with controllers might have kick started the platform.
    Apple isn't trying to emulate $500 headsets. The functionality/price of those hasn't resulted in consumer popularity so I'm not sure where people would get the idea that emulating them would "kick start" anything. 
    thtdanoxrue
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