Apple’s First Vision Pro Ad Turns to Pop-culture to Make Goggles Cool

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Apple is turning on the hype machine for Vision Pro, its first mixed reality headset which is set to release early next month for $3,500. Apple’s marketing department is undeniably one of the world’s strongest, but it’s attempting one of the most difficult feats with the headset’s first real advert: to make wearing goggles cool.

Modern headsets are lighter and more compact that ever—the shoebox form-factor of old has mostly gone away thanks to the inclusion of pancake optics and overall closer integration of custom parts—but there’s still inherent societal friction involved with wearing the XR kit of today. To many people, headsets just look weird.

In Vision Pro’s release date video, called ‘Get Ready’, instead of highlighting all of the cool things it can do, the Cupertino Fruit Company has turned to pop culture to get people used to the idea of wearing goggles. Apple’s advert highlights adventurers and superheroes of all types, from Luke Skywalker to Ironman, basically underlining that an adventure awaits, and goggles are merely a part of the costume. If only the adventure they showed wasn’t a glorified iPad app drawer…

Image courtesy Apple

Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but it’s not unjustified. Apple Vision Pro is set to include a host of really cool capabilities that we aren’t seeing here, and it’s a shame that the first thing they could think of showing after invoking Doc Brown’s famous “we don’t need roads” line from Back to the Future (1985) was something so comparatively banal.

Apple is ostensibly approaching this piecemeal though. Maybe it wants to tell us goggles are cool first, but not really tell us why? Maybe later we get a better idea of why Apple thinks Vision Pro is cool, possibly a little closer to its February 2nd ship date?

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Maybe something about its intuitive ‘look and tap’ input method? Or maybe its best-in-class (ok, at $3,500 is basically alone there) virtual displays with excellent clarity? The ability to record and rewatch memories? The ability to play virtual and mixed reality games? We don’t know exactly what Apple wants to highlight, but we’re certain to learn soon.

Maybe (I know, that’s a lot of ‘maybe’s) Apple doesn’t need to tell us at all though. Apple fans who have the disposable income to take a gamble on a $3,500 headset, which hopes to be a general-purpose computing device, may not need any more justification than Apple saying Vision Pro is cool, and leaving it at that.

Whatever the case, those are just a few reasons to get excited about Apple’s entrance into head-mounted displays. Check out our hands-on with Apple Vision Pro to find out more.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Eren Bilgin

    It’s a tease. What a user sees when putting on the headset is the app drawer. What happens next is up to you. But it’s just a tease so they’re not showing it yet.

  • Pab

    They really know how to sell

  • Zantetsu

    A butchered version of Devo’s Uncontrollable Urge as the background music.

    De-evolution is real.

  • R3ST4RT

    Oof, to have the first view through the headset look the same as if you saw your phone home screen was super lack luster. I get that it’s a teaser, but they chose such a boring “look through the glasses”.

    I love metas take on looking through the glasses where you’re immediately transported to a fantastical VR world with fun content.

    But perhaps that’s the point. I know they don’t want to call this a VR, XR, or AR headset and a marketing campaign that follows metals formula would make them feel samey.

    • alxslr

      The incredible floating iPad. Yours for $3500.

      • alxslr

        I still will probably buy the second or third generation of those. But for the moment, it’s like the first personal computer. They know it’s gonna be cool, but they still don’t know what normal people will use it for exactly.
        That’s why, for the moment, running away from immersive VR games/experiences is quite a risky move.

  • eadVrim

    Is Apple really excited about mixed reality? I don’t like this design and unconvicted what its headset offer. ($3500 for a 2D virtual screen).

  • David Barlia

    I love that somebody like Apple is finally making the idea of wearing a VR headset look cool–as opposed to strapping a brick to your face, or being some sorry geek lost in a video game. Pop culture has been making VR users look sort of sad or confused, and it’s time that changed.

    I do have to agree with @r3st4rt:disqus that the “look through the glasses” is a major anti-climax. Could it be that Apple just doesn’t want to commit to any specific demographic? @eren_bilgin:disqus “What happens next is up to you.” True, but it wouldn’t hurt to offer inspiration about the possibilities.

    Then again, this ad is really all about how it makes you look to put one of these things on your face.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Could it be that Apple just doesn’t want to commit to any specific demographic?

      Apple to 100% commits to one specific demographic: existing iPhone/iPad/Mac users. And doesn’t care at all about another demographic: VR users. That’s been pretty clear for years, so why are people still astonished by Apple ads for an Apple headset showing Apple apps that Apple users use daily and will immediately recognize?

      Apple positions AVP as an upgrade to what their users already do, and we’ll probably see lots of trailers showing someone naturally interacting with others through EyeSight, to emphasize that this is not one of those dorky bricks those strange nerds strap to their faces in dark basements. AVP is a cool look, because every one of the fictional characters shown wore similar goggles to do something awesome that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And none of them were playing games. So I wouldn’t count on VR gamers no longer being placed into the sorry geek drawer, as Apple really tries to distance their AVP from the isolating experience that lead to this very image.

  • Stealth Ico

    its a trend that they do. look up the iphone ad before it launched which had people answering the phone in pop culture media, or look up the japanese “behind the mac” ad which had scenes from anime of characters using mac devices

  • Lucidfeuer

    Battery-wise, this is a no-go, but functionally wise they’re onto something…

  • I love this commercial

    • STL

      Great advertisement will not make me buy a non-gaming VR headset.

      • ViRGiN

        You are not the center of the world.

        • STL

          Everybody is.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The video ends like it should, quickly explaining Apple users what AVP (currently) does by showing them familiar icons. They’ll immediately know that the Apple Vision Pro will seamlessly integrate with their existing iPhones, iPads and Macs running the same apps, with video being the primary use case.

    Most Apple users wouldn’t touch a Quest 3, so showing content VR enthusiasts care about would do more harm than good. What’s the point in showing the interaction method to an audience that has never seen or tried hand tracking? It runs iPad apps, so you’ll somehow use it with your fingers, that’s enough to know.

    Apple clearly doesn’t want people to associate it with VR, instead positions AVP as a media device that is part of their eco and app system. Pretty sure rule No 1 for the teaser was: NO GAMES!!!!! And AVP will not run VR or MR apps, as Apple guidelines ask developers to stick to the term “spatial apps”.

    People still want to perceive AVP as a high end VR HMD, and hold on to that because it technically could be used this way. But the article’s suggestions for demonstrating something “cool” are limited to the perspective of VR enthusiasts completely missing who Apple is targeting and what these people expect from an Apple device. Future versions of AVP may add/show AR/MR/VR content, but on launch it will offer a well integrated media experience on a “spatial” iPad with lots of 3D screen space. Exactly what the screen with familiar icons floating in the room conveys.

  • STL

    WHY would I buy AVP? And I don‘t mind the money!
    It can replace home entertainment. Okay, fair enough. So I run around with swimming goggles all day long just for that? No. I don’t think so.
    What else?
    No gaming. No deal.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      – If you care about gaming, don’t buy an Apple Vision Pro.
      – If you don’t care about gaming, don’t buy a Quest 3.

      [* Exceptions apply, but this should be valid for 90%+ of all cases.]

      Don’t buy one. You shouldn’t buy a harvesting machine either, or a lab oven, or a wedding dress or any of the things you don’t need, because they weren’t designed for your use case. Apple will only be able to produce about 500K AVP in 2024 anyway, so it’s better to leave them to those that want one.

      Statistically about 10% of the time spent with mobile phones is used for gaming, so 90% of the time people use them for other things, with a very significant portion never ever playing any games. So there is plenty of room for devices that do not focus on gaming. And since you don’t mind the money, you can buy seven Quest 3 for the price of one AVP, gift six of them to friends, for your very own playgroup.

      • STL

        Yes. Right. But WHO wants one and WHY. That’s my whole point.

  • david vincent

    40th article about a headset that nobody will buy and still nothing on UEVR?
    Come on, R2VR…