I got to play with the Apple Vision Pro and saw the future of computing. Again.

Bob O'Donnell

Posts: 64   +1
Staff member
Editor's take: I was one of the lucky few who got to attend Apple's WWDC keynote presentation in person, and also got to try the new Apple Vision Pro headset for a 25-minute hands-on, er, heads-on demo. The experience was very good – as it certainly should be for a product that's going to cost a whopping $3,499 – but it was also a bit more similar to other devices I've tried over the years than I initially expected it to be.

Apple Vision Pro is the company's first truly new computing platform device, and the biggest change in physical form factor, in about 10 years. While it looks to most people like the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets that we've seen companies like Meta, Microsoft, Magic Leap, Samsung, Lenovo and others introduce over the last few years, Apple refers to Vision Pro as a spatial computing device.

The idea is that Vision Pro's extremely high-resolution display along with its natural user interface let you see and manipulate digital content of all types in the space in front of you. Practically speaking, that means it functions like a virtual monitor onto which you can place everything from traditional iOS apps to applications running on your Mac to immersive photos, videos and more.

At its best, Vision Pro offers a hyper-realistic perspective. The full-room screen size and spatial audio features combined with immersive video content specifically created for the device can make it feel like you're experiencing something in person – whether that's exploring a remote mountaintop, diving with sharks, watching live sports, and much more.

Applications such as Apple's interactive dinosaurs demo provide a means to view and even do simple interactions with digital objects floating in front of you. Additionally, 3D movie content like the second Avatar movie that Apple demoed surpasses anything you've ever seen in a theater or theme park experience.

The problem is that it can all be a bit overwhelming. Like with existing AR and VR headsets, the initial demo with Vision Pro is super impressive – and for those who haven't tried previous VR iterations, the experience can be even more mind-blowing. But once the roughly 25-minute demo was over, I was perfectly content with it being done.

Now, this probably was due in part to the fact that Apple was trying to squeeze in a lot of different examples in a short time frame. But it also reminded me of why I've never been a big long-term fan of computing devices that sit on my face and cover my eyes. They can get visually and mentally draining fairly quickly.

This problem isn't unique to Apple. In fact, Apple's integration of the many different technologies required to bring a product like Vision Pro to life is very impressive. I noticed none of visual delay-based challenges that cause motion sickness issues in other types of VR headsets, for example. This is likely thanks to the new Apple-designed R1 chip whose purpose is to integrate the camera and sensor data from all the various elements that are built into the Vision Pro's design.

However, it's not clear that Vision Pro can overcome the challenges of the category. For many people, the product is likely to be something that they find initially amazing, but quickly start to tire of. The 2-hour battery limit from the wired, deck of card-sized battery pack that powers the Vision Pro certainly won't help either, but I'm very curious to see how long people want to use the device for a given session anyway. (For longer sessions, the device can be plugged into the wall, but this obviously limits mobility.)

Of course, this will all depend on the types of applications that get developed for Vision Pro. Many of them initially seem compelling, including 3D photos and videos that you can capture directly from the Vision Pro's built-in camera. However, several others felt like revisits of concepts that seemed very cool on products like the Magic Leap and Hololens, but turned out to be not that useful in real-world use.

One thing I was surprised by was the relative lack of demos that used 3D modeled objects that could overlay your view of the real world. One of the key benefits of Vision Pro is its passthrough video view, which allows you to clearly see the real-world (and people) around you when you don't have apps or other content in the virtual screen in front of you. But despite Apple's six years of work on AR Kit for iPhone and iPad developers, there weren't a lot of examples of that in the demos that Apple showed.

The biggest surprise for me about the Vision Pro was that it felt more like a fully immersive VR headset experience than I expected it to be. Traditionally, VR is defined as a completely immersive screen experience where the real world is obscured. AR, however, is typically thought of as primarily a real-world view with a few digital objects placed within that environment.

Many of the Vision Pro demos and much of the brief time I spent with the device fused these two concepts into what's often called mixed reality (MR). Although there were elements of real-world visibility, most of it felt VR-like. From the device's initial setup onwards, my experiences with VR headsets kept coming to mind.

Ironically, some of the most impressive experiences offered by Vision Pro were owed to the extraordinarily high-quality screens inside the device. The Environments app, which provides a 360-degree view of various nature scenes, complete with spatial audio, was amazing. However, Apple (and many others in the industry) have been attempting to move away from VR and concentrate more on AR due to the visually exhausting and sometimes disorienting nature of VR experiences.

All of this echoes some of my initial concerns. It's clear that Apple has invested substantial time and effort into Vision Pro, and it shows in numerous impressive ways. Moreover, there are countless features, like the Eyesight view for indicating to others that you're observing them through the lenses, and digital avatars for Facetime calls that I don't have the space to get into. The company also didn't showcase any demos with Siri-based voice control – a feature that could either be a great enhancement (particularly if driven by an updated AI-enhanced version of Siri) or a frustrating disappointment if it still uses the current version of Siri.

At the end of the day, I'm not fully convinced this story hasn't been told before and that it won't conclude with the same modest impact that other similar products have had. To its credit, the technology in Apple's Vision Pro surpasses any previous iterations of spatial computing devices, but the long-term impact for the company and the category remains to be seen.

Bob O'Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter

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Posts: 6,229   +5,356
TechSpot Elite
Cool tech, zero practicality. It's just a tech demo for things that we might actually buy in 3-4 years at a decent price. (kinda like how raytracing is for the first 3 generations)


Posts: 9,200   +8,857
For all the TL;DR comments
At the end of the day, I'm not fully convinced this story hasn't been told before and that it won't conclude with the same modest impact that other similar products have had. To its credit, the technology in Apple's Vision Pro surpasses any previous iterations of spatial computing devices, but the long-term impact for the company and the category remains to be seen.


Posts: 906   +1,370
They can keep trying and burn money, but VR/AR headsets other than gaming or porn are a waste of time, imho. Why? Because for VR, the metaverse in any shape or form, Meta`s or Apple`s is a crap idea, other than a curiosity for a short while, people want to spend most of their time in the real life and that`s exhausting enough. Also, the graphics is bad, like PS1 style and the headset is heavy and cumbersome. Wearing it for more than two hours is a challenge for most people, because of the heat and because you get nauseous. For AR, sure, it`ll be cool to see Google maps live when walking down the street or speak to a foreign person and see a real time translation, but for that, it needs heavy miniaturization and probably some fast AI. Man, I can`t wait for 2140. But until then, how on earth would someone justify spending 3500$ for this is beyond me, other than this sponsored article and more so for something that can be had at 400$. Yes, you can buy the Quest 2 and I bet you`ll have 90% the same experience.


Posts: 3,498   +4,882
TechSpot Elite
The problems I see:
It looks like it would be fun for casual work. But then casual work can be done with less expensive (and straining) tech; It wouldn't be productive enough to justify it, especially at that price.
It has no official controllers (tactile support for your hands) to then help with productivity tasks, like with what existing headsets have, to be used in tech fields. And then that also means it cannot be used properly for most traditional VR apps without awkward gestures (cutting out yet another segment of customers).

So then, what is the target for this? Who is supposed to use this beyond rich tech bros that cycle through new tech gadgets? Especially in this economy?

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Apple is just releasing this because of the sunk cost to develop it, and then go silent on it in the years to come. Maybe try releasing a new version in a year to see if it still has life...


Posts: 12   +9
TechSpot Elite
If it can be reasonably used on an airplane there are easily enough frequent flyers to warrant the product launch.
Averaging just 3 long haul flights per month amortizes the $3,500 cost out to less than $50 per flight over 2 years.
That's peanuts for gadget loving flyers.


Posts: 44   +29
The future of computing, only in the reallity distortion field. This will never be a thing for the masses. Imagine a bar filled with Vision Pro users, it's funny. Even a coffee shop would be creepy filled with these. The only real use cases are the same ones. AR/VR killer features are games, 3D movies and porn. I will give this version a call out to being able to create 3D photos and movies as something Apple can bring to the table. That feature I'd buy one of these for and even switch to an iPhone for. Assuming that iPhone could also take 3D photos.

Most people have no idea how cool 3D photos are. Shame, it's amazing. Pair with a 2016 LG 3D tv and you have another dimention.


Posts: 476   +239
Putting goggles on your face and looking at two small screens might be the future of computing for a select few. I will stick to looking at BIG screens and not put contraptions on my head. It's enough that I have to wear headphones in the middle of the summer. Don't you also want the Mandalorian's helmet to wear 24/7? It has all kind of sensors, you know?


Posts: 1,733   +1,244
Fanboy much?!

I only glanced at other sites - a comments - they are Apple gushing - 5000 amazing patents game changing blah blah blah
This review is much more considered

Will only be a media consumption device - if no one supports it
Well can see mac screen in the air - heard about touch screen with out a chunky on your head
Mirrored to a projector screen for everyone else


Posts: 1,733   +1,244
If you are any kind of engineer or architect - these should only be a confirmation for the excellent special skills you innately have and you have developed. There are already a plethora of tools out there to imagine a "new world"
So VR or AR
for VR $3500 smackos is a lot given Apple is poorly supported for gaming -- buys a big TV screen 77" Oled on special
That VR media 100 inch plus screen touted glasses the other day on TS makes sense - one purpose - do it well

Do you want VR with AR why - at a theme park, escape room , paintball , laser tag ??.
You could just as easy do AR on an iPhone Po - or a nice large Ipad pro no need for everyone to have their own pair - because who wants to use after Mr X on the development site MR X who never washes hs hands in the bathroom
I get google glasses , Huds on car screens and for jet fighter pilots
No one plays pokemon in AR unless have to

Sure it's amazing tech -but you want VR gaming - get a VR gaming headset
You want media consumption - get glasses coming out that will be light and much cheaper
You want overlay get pretty ordinary glasses - with a hud projector or transparent screen

What is this for - not for using a macbook in the air - what a load of BS why suffer that and be forever charging batteries

Yet on another techsite raving how amazing Apple is a head of the comp blah blah
Yeah that site where no one can say anything bad about Apple -- or be downvoted - only negative can me done by Apple users in set format - Love my IPhone 14 - but.....

Yeah stds against other companies pass with usual upvotes - you are the customer , how long to Google stops support etc etc like Apple does not treat you as a cash cow - and make you pay for the privilege or sometime remove some app you use as it competes with their new one

My take whales will buy to watch media
Corporates will buy and stop using -- as existing stuff easier and just as good to some AR , demos with less hassle and cleaning worries - staff then sneak them out of cupboard 5 months later to take home to watch media

RF Match

Posts: 19   +26
I'll definitely buy that 5 years from now when its price is expected to be ~$100.
I don't know about $100 (that's pretty cheap) but I agree. This is just the beginning. 5-10yrs from now this will be a valuable tool or entertainment distraction for many people.

"Apple and the future of computing don't go together in the same sentence....."

If not Apple then who??


Posts: 1,172   +1,663
I have never tried one of these things. It looks horrible to wear, especially in summer. Maybe they should make them with built-in air conditioning.

Do you really think people will be walking out in the open wearing these?? Do read the article, it helps.


Posts: 563   +942
What ever happened to the images we've been seeing of a normal pair of glasses with integrated screens?



Posts: 9   +1
The integration of the camera and sensor data through the R1 chip is an impressive feat by Apple. It's good to hear that they have addressed motion sickness issues commonly associated with VR headsets


Posts: 138   +76
Outlandishly expensive, priced for the business/professional world (similar to the Quest Pro, but doubly so). I see this as their initial big splash into the field (the price alone is worthy of it getting press time, much to the hate of the commenters). I do see a near future of them introducing a consumer model that is priced as such. The only thing I see holding this back compared to other VR/AR/MR HUDS is that they have mostly lived in the gaming space, something Apple hasn't done much with........ The other being 360/180/3D vids/pics etc. Finally, to address the elephant in the room: Are you really going to want to pay $3500 to watch porn in 3d, when you can do it for far cheaper with a quest? 🤣🤣🤣

My thoughts on VR/MR/AR: I get they want a self contained unit to make it more affordable for the masses, which should in theory drive more content creation. But a HUD that takes full usage of a PC's GPU abilities was really what made the RIFT and other's like it so awesome. When Oculus went the Quest route, of trying to re-encode video over wireless/USB instead of just connecting the device directly to a GPU, is holding back the gaming space........ We shall see what the future brings, so far the Quest 3 doesn't look like a large enough leap beyond the Quest 2 to make it the next game changer........

Has anyone confirmed if the AVP will interface with MACS's to make use of GPU power/full computer gaming?


Posts: 76   +75
Read much?

"But once the roughly 25-minute demo was over, I was perfectly content with it being done."

"At the end of the day, I'm not fully convinced this story hasn't been told before..."

What you're leaving out is that the title of this article is sensationalized, especially given the conclusion you just quoted. The conclusion casts doubt, while the title and subtitle imply something like a revolutionary product: words like 'the future' and 'redefine' are pretty weighty words to use.

[I must say the conclusion "the long-term impact for the company and the category remains to be seen." is a bit vague given the start of the article.]