One of the most interesting things about Vision Pro is the way Apple is positioning its fully immersive capabilities. While many have interpreted the company’s actions as relegating VR to an afterthought, the reality is much more considered.

Vision Pro is somewhat ironic. It’s an incredibly powerful and capable VR headset, but Apple has done extensive work to make the default mode feel as little like being in VR as possible. This is of course what’s called ‘passthrough AR’, or sometimes ‘mixed reality’. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s clear that in Apple’s ideal world when you first put on the headset it should feel like nothing around you has even changed.

Apple doesn’t want Vision Pro to take over your reality… at least not all the time. It has gone to extensive lengths to try to seamlessly blend virtual imagery into the room around you. When floating UI panels are created, the are not only subtly transparent (to reveal the real world behind them), but the system even estimates the room’s lighting to cast highlights and shadows on the panels to make them look like they’re really floating there in front of you. It’s impressively convincing.

But none of this negates the fact that Vision Pro is a powerful VR headset. In my hands-on demo earlier this year, Apple clearly showed the headset is not only capable of fully immersive VR experiences, but that VR is a core capability of the platform. It even went so far as to add the ‘digital crown’ dial on the top of the headset to make it easy for people to transition between passthrough AR and a fully immersive view.

Image courtesy Apple

Much of the commentary surrounding Vision Pro focused on the fact that Apple never actually said the words “virtual reality,” and how the headset lacks the kind of dedicated controllers that are core to most VR headsets today. It was reasoned that this is because the company doesn’t really want Vision Pro to have anything to do with VR.

As I’ve had more time to process my experience of using the headset and my post-demo discussions with some of the people behind the product, it struck me that Apple doesn’t want to avoid fully immersive VR, it’s actually embracing it—but in a way that’s essentially the opposite of what we seen in most other headsets today. And frankly, I think their way is probably the approach the entire industry will adopt.

Apple Vision Pro | Image courtesy Apple

To understand that, let’s think about Meta’s Quest headsets. Though things might be changing soon with the release of Quest 3, up to this point the company has essentially used VR as the primary mode on its headsets, while passthrough AR was a sort of optional and occasional bonus mode—something apps only sometimes used, or something the user has to consciously toggle on.

On Vision Pro, Apple is doing the reverse. Passthrough AR is the default mode. But fully immersive VR is not being ignored; to the contrary, the company is treating VR as the most focused presentation of content on the headset.

In short, Apple is treating VR like a ‘full-screen’ mode for Vision Pro; the thing you consciously enable when you want to rid yourself of other distractions and get lost in one specific piece of media.

If you think about it, that’s exactly how we use full-screen on our computers and phones today.

Image courtesy Apple

Not every application on my computer launches in full-screen and removes my system UI or hides my other windows. In fact, the majority of apps on my computer don’t work this way. Most of the time I want to see my taskbar and my desktop and the various windows and controls that I use to manipulate data on my screen.

But if I’m going to watch a movie or play a game? Full-screen, every time.

That’s because these things are focused experiences where we don’t want to be distracted by anything else. We want to be engrossed by them so we remove the clutter and even let the application hide the mouse and give us a custom interface to better blend it with the media we’re about to engage with.

In the same way that you wouldn’t want every application on your computer to be in full-screen mode—with its own interface and style—Apple doesn’t think every application on your headset should be that way either.

Most should follow familiar patterns and share common interface language. And most do not need to be full-screen (or immersive). In fact, some things not only don’t benefit from being more immersive, in some cases they are made worse. I don’t need a fully immersive environment to view a PDF or spreadsheet. Nor do I need to get rid of all of my other windows and data if I want to play a game of chess. All of those things can still happen, but they don’t need to be my one and only focus.

Most apps can (and should) work seamlessly alongside each other. It’s only when we want that ‘full-screen’ experience that we should give an app permission to take over completely and block out the rest.

And that’s how Apple is treating fully immersive VR on Vision Pro. It isn’t being ignored; the company is simply baking-in the expectation that people don’t want their apps ‘full-screen’ all the time. When someone does want to go full-screen, it’s always a conscious opt-in action, rather than opt-out.

Scalped Vision Pro Pre-orders Have Sold for $6,000, But Justice May Yet Prevail

As for the dial on the top of the headset—while some saw this as evidence that Apple wants to make it quick and easy for people to escape fully immersive VR experiences on the headset, I’d argue the company sees the dial as a two way street: it’s both an ‘enter full-screen’ and ‘exit full-screen’ button—the same we expect to see on most media apps.

Ultimately, I think the company’s approach to this will become the norm across the industry. Apple is right: people don’t want their apps full-screen by all the time. Wanting to be fully immersed in one thing is the exception, not the rule.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Jan

    I think it all show one thing, Apple originally wanted to make something like much more better Hololens, but their attempt failed for some reasons. So they decided to go way with pass through, they accidentally made great VR glasses but still targeting AR. I’m not sure if pass through is right technology for serious work, maybe for some cases yes. We will see

    • polysix

      “much more better” isn’t real English. The ‘better’ already implies the ‘more’. Just use “much better” and stop sounding dumb.

      • Dragon Marble

        Always capitalize the first letter of a sentence and stop sounding dumb.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        [Marty picks up the cloth]: It’s a key!
        Captain Jack Sparrow: No! Much more better. It is a *drawing* of a key.

        from “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead man’s chest”, 2006

        (Outside of France and Iceland,) language isn’t designed by comity, but develops through daily usage. So if enough people start using “wrong” structures, new words or applying different meanings to existing elements, it becomes part of the language. There is no such thing as “real English”, and every language is constantly changing.

        And in this case, “much more better” may be unconventional, but the grammar is fine, it is just a tautology/redundancy that may be intentionally used as an emphasis. It might also be a cultural reference to a meme, as thanks to a Disney movie, “much more better” has been making its way into daily use in the English language for some years. [Insert “man of culture” comment here.]

        • Dragon Marble

          Well said. So much more better.

      • CrusaderCaracal

        Get a grip

      • CrusaderCaracal

        I speak English as my first language. Myself and many others use “much more better.” English isn’t like the bible, it’s not fixed and we need to interpret it, it grows and changes over time. That’s what languages do, if you take a look at Old or Middle English it looks way different from our modern language. So please, just shut up.

      • CrusaderCaracal

        I think much more better is much more better.

  • Arno van Wingerde

    Great insight: I made the comment on an earlier article that this would make for a strong VR gaming system as well and got my head bitten off (well, not really, but people disagreed with the point). A laptop/tablet/Teams application with a much screen face as you want plus a great VR game set? If desired Even the pro $3500 does not sound completely ridiculous anymore. A non-pro version for $1500 a few years later may go down quite well.
    But the point that games without controllers would be difficult; hand gestures in a fast paced game seems difficult.
    One thing is for sure: no other company, certainly not Meta, comes close when it comes to making things easily and natural like Apple can!

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Games without controllers are not difficult, and the vast majority of games played today outside of VR are controlled directly with hands/fingers.

      Porting VR games from other platforms that rely on pistol shaped controllers with triggers and a joystick can be difficult. There the game design is both limited by and optimized for these controllers, so you end up with a lot of shooting distant things, hitting close things with sticks/hammers/swords, and rather coarse grabbing and moving of very close objects. Some of that will not translate easily to hand tracking, esp. designs just sticking closely to the pistol metaphor, while anything involving grabbing and using something directly could actually work better.

      Once you realize you are no longer limited to mostly aim and shoot, but instead now have access to pretty advanced hand tracking, and then also remember that pretty much everything you do all day involves your hands and rather advanced hand-eye coordination, you’ll probably come up with a number of different game ideas. We open things, pull them, stack them, toggle switches, push carts and throw things all the time, and only rarely ever point at something remote, pull a trigger and expect something to happen. And there are hints that hand gestures on AVP can be much more complex than those used by the (few) games supporting hand tracking on Quest, like Puzzling Places, Vacation Simulator or Little Cities.

      • Cl

        I disagree. I like the index controller method where you grab something and you actually grab something, not thin air. Shooting a gun in a game is much better than holding nothing. Swinging a sword. Controllers aren’t going anywhere and idk why people want them to. Not having controllers is much more limiting than having them.

        You don’t pull a trigger in real life and expect something to happen.. because it’s real life. There is no menu to open. In real life you walk to where you’re going, can’t do that In vr.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          I understand the argument and the disadvantages of not having any haptic feedback, even if it is just holding something. I also don’t think that controllers will completely vanish, as there are still superior for a lot of things. I just expect them to mostly vanish.

          The positive of feeling the controller you hold in your hand comes with the negative of not being able to hold anything else at the same time. That is fine for single-purpose, taking over the whole view VR games. But the whole article argues that XR is going away from that towards a future where seeing only VR/fullscreen is the exception, while doing and seeing other things and XR/VR/MR/AR/whatever-arrr! at the same time will become the norm. And then all of a sudden a controller is mostly in the way, and whatever can be done with just hand and eye tracking will be done with just hand and eye tracking. Users will be more and more expecting to also be able to play games without having to first grab extra controllers, and game design will react, despite the remaining advantages of controllers. At one point I’d expect controllers to become special purpose accessories like force-feedback racing wheels or HOTAS today.

          And we have already seen this happen. If you had told a mobile gamer in 2006, when this meant Nintendo DS or PSP, that soon their D-pads, buttons or analog nubs would go away, and they’d control games just with their fingers touching the screen, they would have looked at you like a crazy person, esp. the DS users that already had experienced its integrated touch screen. Phone games at that time meant something like Snake on Nokia phones. But just one year later the first iPhone released, and its very responsive capacitative multitouch screen was in a completely different league than the resistive touch screens used before, with higher resolution.

          Apple initially didn’t even allow native apps, but it only took a few years for the convenience of playing on a device you always carry around to win big. Developers reacted and came up with new input schemes and game designs to again work within the limits of the available controls. And today you are no longer limited to Snake, gazillions of casual F2P games, or Doom that runs not only on phones, but also on toasters and everything else. iOS and Android users also get popular PC shooters like PUBG or Fortnite, or the older GTA games. Diablo fans got pretty angry when Blizzard announced Immortal would be mobile only in 2018. Within the next few weeks/months, the iPhone 15 Pro will get the full versions of Assassin’s Creed Mirage and RE8, playable without a controller, and I’m pretty curious how well they will pull this off.

          Today the Quest 2 is the equivalent of the Nintendo DS, its controllers the D-pad and buttons, and the current Meta hand tracking the integrated touchscreen. The AVP is the first iPhone, and its advanced hand plus eye tracking input is the first capacitative multitouch screen.

        • Try PS5’s Horizon: Call of the Mountain sometime. You can “walk” by holding triggers and moving your arms back and forth as if you were jogging. It’s not perfect, but it’s an entertaining example.

  • Nevets

    The anticipated AR glasses of the mid term will, in time, most likely use high quality passthrough rather than waveguides.

  • Dragon Marble

    I don’t see any ingenuity in this idea. The only reason we haven’t seen this is because technology was not good enough yet.

  • Steven C

    One of the big 180 degree content creators said that Meta suddenly told him that they needed as much content as he could churn out. I’ve even found that a lot of the 180 and 360 shorts that I can never find have suddenly started being pushed to me. I think Apple put the fear of god into Meta.

    • Nevets

      They need to reinstate maximum resolution on YouTube VR before I’ll watch them, that’s for sure.

      • Steven C

        Even on Meta TV app, much of the content is super low rez or nausea inducing shaky cam. There was another 180 video of the jungle in Costa Rica that was so fuzzy it was like the lens was covered in vasoline, but he remastered it and it looked really good. It made me believe that all the videos could be made to look good if people used the right software and knew how to use it. I’m pretty sure that even the shaky cam can be fixed with stabilizing software. Hopefully the hardware and software gets easier to use in the near future and we can get consistently good content that doesn’t make you retch, or Apple will do it.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I think it may be more the fear of good.

  • I hope you’re right, that would be a cogent and well designed way to ease people into VR. I just don’t get the sense that they care that much about VR. Like why make it a dial instead of a button? This to me seems like a dark pattern against VR, as it encourages devs to make the immersive part little more than a fancy curtain they can draw around themselves.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      It’s probably a dial instead of a button for exactly the reasons you mention, pushing developers to adapt their designs. Only Apple thinks it is a dark pattern if developers can be lazy and just switch the player into a world completely controlled by them, as they do with VR games on Quest, instead of coming up with designs that let the users decide on how much immersion and isolation they are comfortable with, or how much of their real environment they still want to be able to access.

      Rec Room could be one of those easier to adapt, as a lot of it happens in rather small, “Rec Room” sized environments, so the simplest adaption would simply to remove the walls and place the virtual room within the real user environment. That won’t work everywhere or in more open scenes, and would often break the immersion. But giving the users the control over the level of immersion, instead of forcing full immersion onto them, is the whole point of using a dial instead of a button.

      Developers aren’t forced to limit their designs to minimalistic indoor scenes, they can still go full throttle and turn everything into a gothic nightmare scenario. They should only make sure the game doesn’t break if the user decides against following them down that rabbit hole and not insist that their initial vision is the only way players are allowed to experience it. For some that may be impossible from a technical or unacceptable from an artistic point of view, if e.g. the obstructive environment is essential for gameplay, or they really want to scare you and therefore won’t allow you to ease up on the horror. But for many VR games that already had to learn how to deal with implementing gameplay in a very limited physical space, it should be doable.

      • I don’t mean this antagonistically, but have you ever actually played Rec Room? Most of the environments are massive and fundamentally built around artificial locomotion. Not even the dorm you start out in would fit in people’s rooms. It’s a sprawling world filled with fast paced competitive game modes, I don’t know how they are going to pull off the transition to AVP, but they seem to have a gameplan. And it was Apple that confirmed it’s coming so clearly they have their blessing.

        It’s probably really simple and I’m over-thinking it. Kind of my specialty.

    • InsideOutTracker

      Why do you think that user interaction should also be regulated in steps? Could it not simply be a visual fading, to which interaction is only bound from a certain immersion level?

  • blouse

    It’s a 1st gen Apple product, so all the limitations track (controllers, locomotion, battery life, price etc)

    The graphic processing and image reproduction capabilities are going to be immediately better at launch and likely remain at the top given Apple’s hardware prowess as long as devs show enough interest in the platform. Correcting those 1st gen issues will be water under the bridge soon enough.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      With a price of $3500 vs $500 the graphic processing better be much better.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        AVP graphics performance will be in line with current M2 Macbooks, and, with the M3 expected very soon, already somewhat out of date on release, but still a lot faster than anything Qualcomm has.

        The price doesn’t really matter with Apple, you get what’s currently available. The first generation Apple Watch Edition with 18 karat gold casing, sold for US 10,000, recently was dropped out of support, alongside the other 1st gen models. It still works, but will get no more updates and may no longer work with future iPhones.

        An exorbitant product price has never been a reason for USD 2.77 trillion market cap Apple to offer special treatment. If you are thinking about dropping USD 3500K on an AVP, you’d better be aware of that, happy with what you get, and willing to accept that you device will be made mostly obsolete by the second generation. There is a reason for the rule to never buy a first generation Apple product, unless you desperately need it and don’t care about the money.

        • Till Eulenspiegel

          “There is a reason for the rule to never buy a first generation Apple product…”

          Second generation will be obsolete too when the third gen is out. With your thinking, you will be sitting there and watch the world go by without jumping in.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            No, the Apple first generation rule is very specific. The first iteration is often missing essential features of the following generations, because the first one is still much more experimental. By the second generation they have figured out which features the users engage with the most, and which ones they ignored, and adjusted. Consequently the difference from second to third is usually much smaller. The rest of the development through multiple generations is fine tuning and occasional adding newly available tech, plus the obvious performance boost from generation to generation, with diminishing returns.

            Occasionally that first adjustment means fixing/changing some fundamental tech, leading to the first generation getting cut off from support much sooner, like the first generation iPhone due to only supporting 2G, or the first Intel MacBooks Pros being the first and last x86 Macs supporting only 32bit. 2006 MBP launched with MacOS 10.4.4 and got support till 10.6, while the second gen 2007 MBP with 64bit launched with 10.4.9 and was supported up till 10.11, five OS generations/six years longer. Hence the “never buy a first generation Apple product.”

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            I am typing this on a 1st gen M1 Macbook Pro that I bought when it was launched in 2020.

            Back then, a lot of Mac users were saying the same thing, “don’t buy the first gen”. They even encouraged people to buy the Intel Macs that were selling at huge discount when the M1 came out.

            Now many of the MacOS features require M1 chip, even the AirPods Spatial head-tracking needs Apple Silicon to work. People who bought the Intel Macs are left behind.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            No. A processor is a minor upgrade. OK there might be a major design flaw that would make the new chip crash, but other than that, this is not a new category, just a processor upgrade.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Minor upgrade? It’s a complete architectural change for MacOS.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I agree that the introduction of the M1 was a phenomenal success, so at least an exception to the rule. The M1 itself wasn’t the most critical part, as it technically is a more powerful variant of the A14 used in the iPhone 12, with lots of predecessors. The M1 MBP also used a low risk continuation of the previous Intel Mac case and build, and most of the config like batteries or soldered on NVMe SSDs didn’t change. In some cases like the Mac Mini, Apple hasn’t changed the case for years, so the current M2 version is mostly empty space.

            But the architecture transition from x64 to ARM was definitely critical, something that triggered a lot of “don’t buy 1st gen” warnings, and they pulled it of flawlessly. This wasn’t Apple’s first CPU switch, they already transitioned from Motorola 680×0 to PowerPC, and from PowerPC to x86, and each time mostly kept software compatibility through emulation, at significant performance loss. So people expected something similar.

            But this time Apple had full control over the architecture and added extra modes that allow their ARM chips to handle special flags of x86 that otherwise have to handled by expensive emulation, the very reason why running x86 on the ARM based Microsoft Surface is so sluggish, which had set some of the expectations. The results of the architecture extensions in combination with Rosetta 2 x86 emulation were absolutely baffling, with not only nearly perfect compatibility, but also equivalent and often improved speed of x86 apps compared to the previous model, pretty much unheard of in emulation, and stellar performance with native ARM apps

            This is not the first time that Apple pulled of a very good start, and even the “bad” first gen products were actually pretty good. There usually just were very significant changes/improvements with their follow-ups. I’d still be very cautious regarding AVP, which comes with a lot of very obvious caveats. The external battery is very not Apple, the heavy weight most likely due to the whole thing made out a big chunk of aluminum alloy necessary to get rid of all the heat the M2 and R1 (an M2 variant for data processing) will generate. The micro-OLED displays come to an insane USD 700 alone due to their complexity and resulting very low yield, and the assembly of the AVP is so complicated that its costs are listed at around USD 130, about ten times as much as it costs to assemble an iPhone. So there are a lot of much more obvious problems than with the M1 Macs, and much less experience with the included tech, and absolutely none how the users will actually use it in the end.

            Apple’s previous 1st gen problems usually weren’t due to actual design flaws, they were mostly based on either the tech not being ready (32bit Intel Core, iPhone 2G) or insufficient available experience about use cases, like with the Apple watch that over time developed towards health/fitness. Meaning the problems were sort of unavoidable in these cases, but hard to predict. Paraphrasing Pirate Captain Hector Barbossa, maybe “never buy a first generation Apple product” is more what you’d call “guidelines” than an actual rule.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Please keep it short, I don’t read essays.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The M1 introduction was great despite the dangerous transition from x86 to ARM, but Apple’s ARM architecture license saved the day. The AVP is a very different beast with a lot of tech that will very obviously have to change ASAP, and no experience with how it will be used in the wild, so the second gen will be very different. The Apple 1st gen rule is not a fixed law, more a statistical observation. More details in the essay.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            For Vison Pro, the second gen is about reducing cost – the tech is already at the peak. If you are buying the first gen, it’s to taste the best tech before everyone else – that’s the price of admission.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The tech is way too heavy and way too power hungry for an HMD (as explained in the essay), and Apple will have to shrink it significantly, in addition to reducing the cost. The current state of AVP is basically a massively over-engineered device to allow developers to start experimenting and develop apps for the following generations, when the tech has caught up with the performance needs and allows to integrate everything into a much lighter and more compact headset.

            This approach is necessary, as it will actually take longer for developers and users to figure out what to do with a new medium, how to work around new challenges and what established metaphors to keep or drop, than for Apple to shrink the technology to half its weight and size, or even less.

          • Kryojenic

            You got a great CPU, but you paid for obsolete webcam, old form factor (no expanded screen with notch, wider wedge shape) and worst of all no magsafe.

            If I didn’t have VR headsets already, I’d consider Apple Vision Pro vs all the more normal headsets, but I’d probably still get a Bigscreen Beyond and Index controllers and wait for Apple’s 4th gen product, as I got burned by iphone4 after buying a 3gs because I thought they’d never do high-res screen and camera flash when even the 3rd iPhone didn’t have it. My 1st gen ipad pro wasn’t a 1st gen ipad, but I still felt burned when face ID only came to the 3rd gen ipad pro and I’m glad I waited for 4th gen Apple watch for my mum to get the bigger screen.

            1st gen sucks – especially when Apple charges you top dollar for planned obsolescence.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            In this case, in addition to being the first gen of a new product, it is also priced prohibitively. The pro name means “yes it is a lot more money for minor advantages, but if you make money working with it professionally or simply are happy to pay the premium, it is a nice device. Combo of a really new device and pro makes it a gold-plated Apple Watch.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            The M1 Macbook Air is 5x faster than the Intel Macbook Air they launched that year in 2020 – and it’s sold at the same price, how is that priced prohibitively?

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            It’s about as fast as the Intel Air in x86 apps, about 1.5x-3x faster in new native apps, and 5x faster or more in special uses cases like video editing that relied on special encoders in the M1. It was sold as the same price, but the “prohibitive pricing” refers to the AVP, which is priced as several times what current consumer HMDs sell for, and more than most HMDs sold for business and industry use, with yet not proven use cases. I don’t agree with Arno that the M1 introduction was only a minor feat, but I’d still say that the challenges and risks Apple is are facing with the first AVP are about a magnitude bigger, something potential buyers should keep in mind.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Microsoft has wasted more money on XR than Apple, and they eventually sold it to the military. If it’s not successful with the consumers, Apple can always sell it to NASA or SpaceX.

            The tech in AP is a few generations ahead of the competition. It’s not expensive like the $10,000 Apple Watch because it’s made with gold – it’s expensive for a good reason.

            And regarding the M1 Macbook, the performance is achieved using less power because of the ARM architecture – and therefore longer battery life. That’s the hidden advantage compared to Intel.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Yes, but none of that changes that the AVP as a first generation product will very likely be replaced by something significantly lighter, cheaper and more polished. Simply because it is a very experimental device, relying on currently extremely expensive to manufacture components to be “a few generations ahead of the competition” to kickstart Apple’s future consumer mass market XR ambitions.

    • STL

      Yes. But what for? Not even ONE compelling use case. Not even one.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        3D architecture certainly is: you can project stuff on a monitor but for instance an architect and his/her client looking at a building with the architect going: “this a bit higher, perhaps, that wall a buit more to the right and red, rather than blue” while the customer stands in the building?

  • STL

    VR was a success with games such as Half life alyx VR or Skyrim VR. The idea of wearing an Apple Vision Pro and not being able to live in these other dimensions sounds like a bad joke to me. Btw, I went SHORT on Apple and it pays back well so far. VR or die, Apple! VR or die!

    • Ben Lang

      No one said you couldn’t. The point is, when you want to get immersed in a game you put it in full-screen mode. But most of the time you use your computer, you aren’t in full-screen. HLA and Skyrim VR would be full-screen apps on an AVP, but that doesn’t mean every app would be that way.

    • ViRGiN

      Both these games are complete flops. Gorilla Tag beat them both.

      • STL

        I‘m sure for you that is true!

        • ViRGiN

          I’m sure you would love PCVR exclusive valve card game, cause valve is the best in your own mind.

  • Sky Castle

    I personally don’t care for AR until it’s as small as a pair of thin glasses where I can use walking around without feeling it on my face.

    Only then will I feel an improved quality of life where I can check my mail, text msg, and see directions on the road with my glasses. Doubt this will happen in our lifetime though.

    • Nevets

      I think it will. Unless you’re already 90. Perhaps ten years. Micro OLED pushes that envelope already.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Article writer, revenue is not profit. We don’t know the expenditures Facebook or the indie developers have made to say they made that money and Facebook pocketed the rest.

    Although I agree with mostly the rest of what was said, revenue I don’t agree with without context.

    Even though Facebook does have a leg up on VR content, it’s fairly obvious that they are looking to copy Apple and market Quest 3 as a lower cost Vision Pro device.

    After this article, which I’ve said over and over in other articles, Facebook needs content for mixed reality. They made absolutely nothing for the device for launch but it’s expected for gamers to pay $500 and $650 before tax, to play games they already played or have in their back catalog. That’s lazy.

    What’s also funny, is that I had some fool on another site that said it’s not on Facebook to make something compelling to buy like how Sony and Nintendo do for launching a device. It was the dumbest comment I ever heard this year.

    • VR5

      Interesting that Quest 3 is “copying” VP even though it was both announced before and will release before it. All these companies have been working towards good MR, the tech has only just come to pass. Meta isn’t copying Apple, they’re early and have arrived at a similar paradigm because it makes sense. Natural evolution.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        I basically agree, but in contrast to natural evolution, where random mutation trigger change, technology evolving involves a shitload of copying and adapting. Patents and copyright are intentionally limited, because being able to improve on existing ideas is an important driver of innovation.

        So Meta is copying from Apple, not just with the AVP, but also their whole closed ecosystem, walled garden app store before that, and more. Apple is copying from Meta, and much of what they know about user behavior in virtual worlds or with untethered HMDs will be from observing people using Meta headsets and software. Both will have looked a 90s VR HMDs, Google Glass, 19th century stereoscopes. And I’m sure you’ll be able to reconstruct a direct line through obscure medical literature to some 16th century doctor writing about remedies against sea sickness.

        The whole concept of lone inventors coming up “first” with completely new ideas out of nowhere is pretty much rubbish. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. The idea of the inspired genius creating from scratch is more romantic than interpreting the result as the end product of a lot of work and studying what others created before, but it rarely holds up. Which will soon become a big problem for lots of artists trying to prove that their creations are solely their own, and therefore using them to train AI is intellectual theft, as in many cases similar results would be achieved by training on sources that aspired the artists themselves.

        Every invention or innovation has many mothers and fathers, even if some contribute a lot more and occasionally push things much further. We might get to the same milestones sooner or later without them, but the Einsteins, Pasteurs, Curies, and also the Luckeys, Carmacks, Jobs and Zuckerbergs helped quite a bit.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        Sure. And in the months ahead, Facebook won’t be trying to sell Quest 3 as a low cost Vision Pro. It’s not like they announcement Quest 3 right before Apple’s presentation. It’s not like they updated their software for hand tracking or the GUI. /S

        See, Apple is looking to advance to the next thing beyond the cellphone by putting the content in front of your eyes. Facebook doesn’t make phones. They buy apps and tech like Oculus Rift. Facebook wants to be where Apple already is. And they’ll continue to copy Apple in the months ahead.

        It’s also why they made snide remarks about a wire or external battery in their presentation. They could have just presented Quest 3 and what it can do. But they decided to be tacky.

        • VR5

          They’re obviously in competition, with different approaches and pricepoints. But it is Apple that is joining Meta in the XR space. Apple did Meta a favor, because yes, now Quest 3 is an affordable AVP. But it would have released regardless, competition from Apple just validates their product and positions it favorably as it is suddenly “cheap” even though it is the most expensive regular numbered Quest.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      For Meta it is at least some consolation that they began copying Apple years before the first Apple product came to the market. I love Apple’s dedication to the user experience but open your eyes for a change for all the other Pioniers. The iPhone changed what a phone should look like, but was not the first mobile phone….

      • Nevets

        Nor was the iPhone even the first fully-touchscreen mobile phone.

    • Ben Lang

      Where was revenue mentioned in this article?

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        It was mentioned in your article summarizing the announcements of Connect under “Calm Before the Storm, or Calmer Waters in General?”, and I suspect that the whole comment might actually have been intended to be posted under that article. BTW, the header for microgestures in the same article says “Microgrestures”.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        Was supposed to be posted in the biggest announcements at Facebook article. I must have had the wrong browser page up. My mistake.

        In that article, revenue is not profit.

  • Interesting point of view on the “fullcreen mode” of VR

  • Lucidfeuer

    It took a team of 10k to arrive to a few “obvious” concept cues and yet they stilled failed with the final product when one Steve Jobs and a few Ive and Forstall would have sufficed.

    At least it moves the needle a bit towards the right direction while Meta has been stalling the whole industry.

    • ViRGiN

      True, valve index still sells at 2019 full price.

  • polysix

    “I want to see my taskbar”

    Noob… eating up valuable app space by keeping a taskbar in view for the rare occasion you wish to launch another app without a modifier.. total waste.

    Auto hide task bar on windows is the way I always roll, it pops up if you mouse down to the edge of the screen. I see MAC users with that super tall (not even small icons) taskbar always on their screen during video editing or w/e eating up masses of space and I realise how dumb most people are (esp mac users)

    • ViRGiN

      Over 60% of steam users are using 1080p monitor. Hilarious how “high end” they claim pcvr to be while they are incapable of building a truly productive desk setup.

    • Ben Lang

      I’ve always hated how much screen space the Mac menu bar takes up.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        There is a whole design philosophy about the menu bar and the special use of screen corners in MacOS, used as they impossible to miss, and dating back to very conscious choices made during the development of the Mac toolbox API for the very first Macintosh in 1984. It is all about muscle memory and quick navigation. Pushing the mouse pointer to the top left will always lead you to the system menu, and then slightly to the right to the Application/File/Edit… menu, even with closed eyes, while Windows requires you to aim at and hit a rather slim menu (usually, but not always) at the top of the application window.

        MacOS is very much about consistency. The menu bar is always in the same place, and you cannot miss it while moving up. The basic menu structure is always the same, application settings are always under the main application menu. Steve Jobs’ NeXTSTEP OS for the NeXT computer he (had others) developed after leaving Apple actually switched this to always have the application menu appear under the mouse pointer when pressing the (added) right mouse button. This way you’d not even have to move the mouse at all, saving a few extra fractions of a second every time you need to access the menu.

        When Apple bought NeXT and used NeXTSTEP/OpenStep as the foundation for MacOS X, they switched it back to the traditional MacOS menu bar, because users were more familiar with that, and Apple still maintained their policy that mice should only have one button to not confuse users. They still stick to this today, with the Magic Mouse only featuring a single click surface, though they cheated and placed a multitouch capable trackpad on top of it that allows scrolling without a wheel, zooming without extra keys, and also right clicking, if configured so. But a lot of users still use it as a single button mouse, just like the first one almost 40 years ago. Apple takes UI consistency seriously to the point where it gets in the way of power users, but it is hard to deny the benefits for more casual Mac users. VR could really use some of that UX obsession.

        • Ben Lang

          This was all very interesting, though I was referring to their launcher bar (the equivalent of the Windows Task Bar)

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I almost guessed that, as polysix referred to the taskbar. So there was a chance that, when talking about the Mac menu bar, you actually meant the (zoomable, moveable, auto-hiding) MacOS dock usually located at the bottom. I’ll spare you the also interesting story of the dock that MacOS again inherited from NeXTSTEP.

            My dock is usually hidden and consumes no screen space, as I CMD/CTRL-TAB between apps/tabs and launch everything via Spotlight, avoiding mouse/trackpad whenever possible. When in use, it shows very tiny icons with medium zoom when hovering over them, allowing me to both dump way more open windows/apps there and find them again faster than with the Windows 10 taskbar.

            Admittedly, most Mac user I know use much larger icons, andhalf of them have the dock visible at all times, and then it really eats up a lot of space. The official MacOS app launcher is even worse, a full screen grid of gigantic icons called Launchpad, so annoyingly wasteful that I disabled all shortcuts and gestures that might accidentally trigger it.

            I use MacOS, Linux and Windows pretty much on a daily basis, and always prefer MacOS, as it makes me faster (and gives me a terminal and Unix based system). But Apple’s focus on UX somewhat fails here, going from point-and-click to fast keyboard based everything requires learning a lot of shortcuts and multitouch gestures with a steep learning curve. They never managed to transition casual to power users via the UI.

            It will be interesting to see how this translates to the AVP, which could both be restricted to look-and-pinch as a mouse equivalent, or also allow for more complex (and harder to learn) hand gestures to immediately trigger functions, without even needing to see a menu, with hand tracking in 3D allowing for tons of possible gestures to really speed things up, way more than the current 1-4 finger trackpad gestures. The AVP UI is very intuitive compared to what we got so far, but “talking” to the HMD with our hands instead of looking/pointing/clicking at things, could become way more powerful.

  • ShaneMcGrath

    Good product but DOA at that price point, I don’t know anyone with Apple phones, Macs and iPad’s that are even interested in this and they usually hyped and ready to spend.

  • m0useCat064

    Their VR mode is restricted to a tiny area, with no options to change it, nor to develop apps that can span a larger area in VR.

    If that’s going to be a forced industry standard, it can fuck right off, we don’t need regression of functionality.

  • Traph

    Meta is 100% trying to move in this direction. Beyond just the Quest 3 defaulting to passthrough mode, the most recent PTR on the Quest Pro has silently added a new feature that allows you to walk around outside your guardian boundary in passthrough mode by default.

    I’m able to get up from my desk, walk into the kitchen, make a cup of coffee, and still be able to interact with the Quest UI and all 2D apps. If I try to go into a VR app/game the device fades in a guardian setup dialog. It’s pretty cool and obviously coming to at least Pro and 3 by default with the next firmware update.

  • Kenny

    Crediting Apple with the “pass through from the start” concept isn’t quite fair. It isn’t like Q2 was capable of doing this in a comfortable way. And it appears that Q3 will also be doing this, and before Apple does, given AVP has not been released.

  • Celest

    Not quite if you can get full when eating food, sitting in a chair, and touching your wife in VR. The fact that VR can’t do those things adds friction, hence the MR appeal.

  • boniek

    MR games exist. Are they full screen?

  • Jeremy Deats

    When I watched apple’s presentation on Vision Pro I was skeptical. When I dug into the developer documentation there was a light-bulb moment. If XR is to move past it’s niche gaming focus, what Apple is doing with Vision Pro is the future…. Yes the default is Mixed Reality, because a key feature Apple is using to define it as a “spatial computer” is its ability to run multiple apps at the same time just as your desktop or laptop. Instead of living in windows of physicals screens, these apps can come in multiple forms. From flat virtualized windows, to 3D cubes of real-estate to hybrid apps with 2D UI that has 3D augmented features…. You need great developer tools to build these sort of apps and foundational SDKs and Apple has all of that baked into the visionOS. Other all-in-one headsets like the Meta Quest and Pico are designed to run a single fully immersive experience, which is something they do well. The things that can multi-task are all first party apps like browser, app store, etc.. very limited and the “augments” feature coming in 2024 will be widgets that can multi-task, not full apps and also only from Meta’s development team, at least at first. Vision Pro and the current corp of VR all-in-one headsets are different product categories…. I will add, I think a lot of VR enthusiast have now purchased a Quest 3 and have gotten a taste of what Mixed Reality can do and they crave higher fidelity passthrough cameras, higher fidelity screens, etc.. and they are going to try a Vision Pro for the first time and completely loose their shit at the quality difference and want to sell a kidney to buy one, for that higher quality Mixed Reality experience not for its (lack of) game catalog. They will keep around the PSVR 2, Quest 3 or whatever for gaming and use the Vision Pro for MR

  • namekuseijin


  • I am increasingly using my Quest 3 for productivity in Immerse. It has a pasdthrough option. I virtually never use it because my real world distracts me from writing, programming etc. And my real world is ugly. I do use a tiny passthrough window for my dedk snd my coffee cup, but I position them so I only see tgem when I need. I would argue that a lot if people will spend a lot more time in full imnersion like this than the author seems to think because it is tremendously productive. I get 10x more done without distractions. VR is far more than entertainment :)