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Apple Retail Stores are Preparing for the U.S. Launch of Vision Pro while Apple may be planning to Simply their iPad Lineup in 2024

1 Cover  Apple Vision Pro image

On Wednesday Patently Apple posted a report titled "In an effort to create a spark in MacBook and iPad sales, Apple plans to Launch new devices in early 2024." According to Apple leaker Mark Gurman, the new iPad Air arriving in 2024 will have two sizes for the first time, while the Pro model of the device will be fitted with OLED screens, the report said. It added the MacBook Air will come with the speedier M3 processor that is designed in-house.

In today's Newsletter from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, he dives deeper into the iPad's current market confusion by stating that  "These days, Apple sells five main iPads. In some cases, the products have just marginally different screen sizes and similar features. It’s hard to know which one to pick. For instance, the 11-inch iPad Pro of today is only millimeters larger than the iPad Air — and the other differences are negligible for most people. The 10th generation regular iPad, meanwhile, is nearly as good as the Air, but they’re priced $150 apart.

To make matters worse, there are a dizzying array of accessories, and it’s often unclear which add-ons are compatible with which iPads. Apple currently sells three different Apple Pencils, for instance. The new low-end stylus doesn’t work with Apple’s cheapest iPad, while the highest-end Pencil isn’t compatible with the newest iPad.

Apple is working to bring that same clarity to the iPad. For starters, it wants to reduce the confusion between the iPad Pro and the Air. The Pro is set for major changes, including an OLED screen, updated design, M3 chip and revamped Magic Keyboard attachment. That will make it unmistakably the highest-end model.

1 cover iPad  OLED

In terms of screen sizes, the two models will be similar — but the Pro will get you slightly more real estate. The iPad Air will come in 10.9-inch and 12.9-inch configurations, while the Pro will be 11 and 13 inches. This mirrors the approach with the MacBook Air and Pro, where the latter model has a slightly larger screen.

The new Magic Keyboard provides another differentiator for the iPad Pro. Apple isn’t planning a new version of that accessory for the iPad Air. The new 12.9-inch model will stick to using the current Magic Keyboard for that screen size. So if you want to get the best keyboard, you have another reason to spring for the Pro.

Now, the ultimate way to simplify the iPad would be dwindling the line down to just the Pro and Air. Yet Apple needs a cheaper model to sell into the education market, or it risks losing more ground to Chromebooks. It also would be hard to ax the mini. Despite the proliferation of gigantic iPhones, some people prefer a smaller tablet.

One big question is if this simplification will be enough to reinvigorate the tablet category.

Apple Retail Stores get ready for the Vision Pro

Key Apple Vision Pro seminars for key store employees are getting scheduled now, and training is set to begin in the middle of January. Each employee will be trained for two days. It’s a high-stakes endeavor: The Vision Pro’s setup process is going to be complex and not something Apple wants to screw up.

The device needs to be customized for each person, and a poor fitting could ultimately ruin the user’s experience. Every step will be carefully orchestrated, including how retail employees approach a customer and how they place the device on a user’s head.

While customers will be able to reserve a Vision Pro online, it increasingly sounds like they’ll be pushed to pick up the device at a store. Apple retail locations will soon receive new equipment to assemble and box up the headset, a sign that the launch is nearing. As a reminder, the Vision Pro will begin as a US-only product and retail stores will require appointments for purchase. It all begins in Q1 2024.

Gurman's Newsletter and article on Bloomberg also covers Apple's unpopular carbon-neutral FineWoven iPhone case, next-gen MacBooks and  Senator Ron Wyden's revelation on Apple and Google providing push notification data to governments when asked, and more.

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