The attention that comes with being the world’s largest tech company has some downsides: Apple product launches are often leaked before release, and the company’s competition is never far behind.
This is perhaps why the Tim Cook-led tech giant is taking no risks with the release of its hotly-anticipated headset, the Vision Pro.
Estimated to be released in 2024, Apple has already announced the company’s first “spatial computer”, a mixed-reality headset with a 3D camera, that will retail for $3,499.
Developers are being offered the chance to try out the tech before it hits the consumer market in order to build new features for customers—but it’s an offer that comes with serious strings attached.
The legally binding terms and conditions signed by developers—or on behalf of a team of developers—dictate the Vision Pro can only be used in a fully-enclosed and locked room.
The document does not directly state that windows must be covered but says developers are responsible for ensuring unauthorized individuals cannot “access, view, handle, or use” the headset. It adds that unauthorized individuals include a developer’s family, friends, housemates and household employees.
If the password-protected headset is being used the Vision Pro must also be in “positive control” of the developer—meaning it’s either being used by the developer themselves or be in their direct line of sight.
When it’s not in use, the headset needs to be stored in its locked Pelican case—a waterproof, dustproof and crushproof case that is delivered alongside the Vision Pro—and then placed in a locked space like a room, closet or drawer, that only the developer has access to.
It can’t leave the premises
What if the developer wants to take the headset from their home to the office, or vice versa?
No can do, as the Ts and Cs continue the headset “may not be moved from or taken away from its ship-to address by you or your authorized developers without Apple’s prior written consent.”
This is a lesson that Apple had to learn the hard way after tech website Gizmodo famously got its hands on an iPhone 4 disguised as a 3GS after it was left in a bar in 2010.
On top of that, the developer also needs to tell the iPhone maker if they’re going to be away from the headset for more than 10 days and must “consult with [their] Apple point of contact about how to keep the developer kit (DK) safe while you are away.”
These measures are underlined with a strict policy on reporting to Apple if the set—be it parts or in its entirety—are stolen or broken, with the brand saying the headset must be returned in good working condition.
Focus on theft was similarly a priority during the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015.
At the time a developer told Business Insider that a launch event was monitored by security guards at the exit, with attendees required to flash their wrists to the guards when visiting the bathroom or cafeteria to prove they weren’t attempting to steal the devices.
Keep it off social media
The Vision Pro marks Apple’s biggest release in almost a decade and was welcomed with the expected fanfare on social media.
But consumers can’t expect to get much more insight on platforms like Twitter once the product is in the hands of developers, as they’ve explicitly been told to keep their opinions to themselves.
Be it paranoia or sound business sense, Apple isn’t taking any risks when it comes to the publication of unapproved content, writing developers are banned from “discussing, publicly writing about, or reviewing the DK, whether online, in print, in person, or on social media.
“You may not post, or permit your authorized developers to post, any photos, videos, or reactions to or about the DK.”
App developers for the release of the iPad told Insider in 2011 that Apple was so concerned about photo leaks that the wood grain of developer’s desks were photographed, so if any images leaked they could be traced back to an individual.
The developer added that holes had to be drilled into desks so that the iPads could be chained to the furniture with bike cables, and were presented in casing so that only the screens were available.
The news that certain developers will be able to take home a Vision Pro to test was released in June, with Apple confirming it would also be holding “open developer labs” in Cupertino, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo in order to provide developers with hands-on experience to test their apps.