Top Stories: Vision Pro Pre-Orders, iOS 17.3 Release Date, Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Ban

After years of rumors and months of waiting following its unveiling, Apple's headset is finally just about here, with pre-orders going live in the U.S. ahead of an early February launch.

top stories 20jan2024
While Vision Pro was the biggest news of the week, there were also big developments in the ongoing Apple Watch blood oxygen patent dispute, with Apple being forced to start selling Series 9 and Ultra 2 models with the sensor disabled for the time being.

We also got a release time frame for upcoming iOS 17.3 and associated updates, while Apple is now begrudgingly allowing developers to offer non-Apple Store payment options for in-app purchases, so read on below for all the details!

Apple Vision Pro Now Available for Pre-Order

Apple is now accepting pre-orders for the Apple Vision Pro, the company's first spatial computing device. Orders are live in the U.S. online store ahead of the February 2 launch date with the Vision Pro limited to the United States for the time being, although shipping estimates for new orders quickly began slipping into March.

Vision Pro Pre Orders Feature 2
Alongside the start of pre-orders, Apple shared some additional details about the Vision Pro, including full tech specs such as storage options up to 1TB, AppleCare+ pricing, available accessories, and more.

Apple Begins Selling Series 9 and Ultra 2 Watches Without Blood Oxygen Feature in U.S. Amid Dispute

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models sold in the U.S. no longer have a functional Blood Oxygen app starting this week, allowing Apple to sidestep a sales ban on these models. Previously-sold watches and models sold in other countries are not affected.

apple watch series 6 blood oxygen monitoring 1
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last year ordered an import and sales ban on Apple Watch models with blood oxygen sensing after ruling that Apple violated Masimo's pulse oximetry patents. Masimo has accused Apple of stealing trade secrets and poaching employees.

As a longer-term solution, Apple is reportedly working on changes to the Blood Oxygen app's algorithm in an attempt to avoid Masimo's patented technology, but it's unclear when these changes will be ready.

Apple Releasing iOS 17.3 Next Week With These New Features

In its press release unveiling a new Black Unity Sport Band for the Apple Watch, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.3 will be released next week.

iOS 17
The software update includes a few new features and additions for the iPhone, including Stolen Device Protection, collaborative Apple Music playlists, the ability to connect an iPhone to select hotel room TVs via AirPlay, a Unity Bloom wallpaper for the Lock Screen, and more.

U.S. Developers Can Now Offer Non-App Store Purchasing Option, But Apple Will Still Collect Commissions

In adherence with a U.S. court ruling, Apple is now allowing App Store apps to feature a single link to a developer website that leads to an alternative payment option for in-app purchases, but Apple plans to continue to collect a 12 to 27 percent commission on content bought in this manner.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
This change comes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear both Apple's and Epic Games' appeals in their trial related to App Store rules, and Apple now wants Epic to pay its legal fees.

Kuo: Apple Vision Pro to Launch Internationally Before WWDC

Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the Vision Pro will launch in additional countries beyond the U.S. by WWDC 2024 in June.

Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Teal Feature 2
Apple previously announced that the Vision Pro would be released in additional countries later this year, but it did not list any specific countries. Canada, the UK, and other English-speaking nations are reportedly among the places where the headset is likely to launch next.

Apple Vision Pro Virtual Keyboard Blasted As 'Complete Write-Off'

Vision Pro's keyboard floats in mid-air, allowing you to input text in your spatial computing environment while wearing the device.

apple vision pro virtual keyboard
However, anyone planning to ditch their physical keyboard may want to hold onto it for a little while longer. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the virtual keyboard experience in visionOS 1.0 is "a complete write-off," and most people will want to use a Bluetooth keyboard instead.

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Top Rated Comments

Col4bin Avatar
22 weeks ago
Are Apple Vision Pro pre-orders even necessary? Is it me or is there not a lot of mainstream buzz on this one compared to past Apple new product launches? (If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wilhoitm Avatar
22 weeks ago

There are a lot of articles on Vision Pro, considering it is, most likely, a niche product.
The Apple Vision Pro is the future, for some reason some people seem to have no concept that the future exists!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
realitydcf Avatar
22 weeks ago
A QUICK WARNING... Pay attention to Apple and Zeiss. I ordered prescription lenses, and they asked for a cleaner scan of my prescription, I sent it, and at 5am this morning I received an e-mail that Zeiss canceled my lens order because my vision was out of their range. It absolutely is NOT. I spoke to them on Friday and they confirmed it was fine. Then, without warning, this cancellation. After speaking with Apple, they wanted me to reorder the lenses to be received IN MARCH! I ordered at 5am on Friday, so I'd have everything on time. Well, through Apple, I spoke to Zeiss who confirmed that there was NOTHING wrong with my prescription and it's within the range they can do. Then, they acknowledged that they cancelled my order in error. Zeiss upper support won’t be available for 72 hours which could push the needed lenses even further out! This is completely unacceptable! So with it clear that the order was canceled in error, I went back to Apple to get the lenses on time, and they said "Sorry, nothing we can do about it other than to just ask Zeiss to try to get the lenses to me earlier.) THEY MADE THE ERROR! Not me; I'm just the customer who is doing exactly what they said to do. I do not want a $5k doorstop that I can't use because the lenses will be late due to their error. I also ended up participating in the 'pass the blame game' with Apple, who said that Zeiss can accelerate the order (not them), but it would have to wait until Monday. By Monday, the wait could be April! I don't get it... If someone makes an error, they are responsible to fix it. So much tension. I'm the customer who did what he was asked to do, and I may not be able to use the Vision Pro when it arrives on the 2nd. To make matters worse, I had three rude Apple support managers. Unbelievable. Be careful, be warned.... best of luck to all!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rychiar Avatar
22 weeks ago

AI has not much representation even if rumors discuss it being more involved then it is with iOS/iPadOS 18 and MacOS 15. The sales of AVP no matter how many they sell this year will be small representation of Apple revenue.

Given that augmented reality ('https://www.apple.com/augmented-reality/') can exist with 2D displays on iPhones/iPads will the 3D aspects of the headset matter that much more to most consumers is the question for 2024? ;)
No one cares about augmented reality on iPhones or iPads. The Vision Pro is the true form of that tech where it will actually be useful. It’s the future whether people want to hear it or not.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sodajerk2 Avatar
22 weeks ago
Just watched a news segment with a B of A stock analyst talking about the impact of the Vision Pro on Apple earnings. Behind him, was a trading floor containing a sea of monitors: An industry ripe for Apple’s Vision Pro.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
flofixer Avatar
22 weeks ago

The Apple Vision Pro and AI will raise Apple's Stock price though, they have already done that!
While I would like to believe that is true given how much Apple stock I own, it is TSMC's earnings beat on Wednesday that drove the increase in the stock price the last two trading days. I'm not sure if your statement that a product that has yet to be delivered caused the rise in stock price was a joke or if you're really being serious.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)