Over the last three weeks I’ve had the chance to spend significant time in Apple Vision Pro. While my full review is still marinating, I want to share some early thoughts I’ve had while using the headset and what it means overall for the XR industry.

It has to be said that anyone who doesn’t recognize how consequential the launch of Vision Pro is fundamentally doesn’t understand the XR industry. This is the biggest thing to happen since Facebook bought Oculus in 2014.

It’s not just Vision Pro itself, it’s Apple. Everything about the device suggests the company does not consider the headset a tech demo. It’s in this for the long haul, likely with a forward-looking roadmap of at least 10 years. And even then, it’s not that Apple is magical and going to make the best stuff in the industry all the time; it’s that the things it does well are going to set the bar for others to compete against, resulting in accelerated progress for everyone. That’s something Meta has needed for a long time.

The moment feels remarkably similar to when the iPhone launched 17 years ago. At the time a handful of tech companies were making smartphones that mostly catered to enterprise users, a relatively small subset of users compared to all consumers. Then the iPhone came along, designed as a smartphone that anyone could use, and most importantly, a smartphone that people would want to use.

And while the iPhone did less than a BlackBerry at launch, it steadily caught up to the same technical capabilities. Meanwhile, BlackBerry never caught up to the same ease-of-use. Less than 10 years after the launch of the first iPhone, BlackBerry had been all but put out of the smartphone business.

Compared to Quest, Vision Pro’s ease-of-use is so very much like the original iPhone vs. the Blackberry that it’s not even funny. Quest’s interface has always felt like a sewn-together patchwork of different ideas, offering little in the way clarity, intuitivity, and cohesion.

SEE ALSO
'LEGO Bricktales' Quest Review – VR Brick-building Done Right

What Apple has built on Vision Pro from a software standpoint is phenomenally mature out of the box, and it works exactly like you’d expect, right down to making a text selection, sharing a photo, or watching a video. Your decade (or more) of smartphone, tablet, and PC muscle memory works in the headset, and that’s significant. Apple is not fooling around, they knew Vision Pro would be the first headset of many, so they have built a first-class software foundation for the years to come.

Luckily for Meta, it has a much more diversified business than BlackBerry did. So it’s unlikely that they’ll get pushed out of the XR space—Zuckerberg isn’t going to let that happen after all this time. But Meta’s piles of cash no longer guarantees dominance of the space. Apple’s presence will force the one most important thing that Meta has failed to do in its XR efforts: focus.

Even if there wasn’t a single native Vision Pro app on the headset at launch, its impressive how well most iPad and iPhone apps work on the headset right out of the box. Technically speaking, the apps don’t even realize they’re running on a headset.

As far as the iPad and iPhone apps know, you’re using a finger to control them. But in reality you’re using the headset’s quite seamless look+pinch system. Scrolling is fluid and responsive. Drag and drop works exactly like you’d expect. Pinch zoom? Easy. In a strange way it’s surprising just how normal it feels to use an iPad app on Vision Pro.

There’s more than 1 million iPad and iPhone apps which can run on Vision Pro out of the box. That means the vast majority of the apps you use every day can be used in the headset, even if the developer hasn’t created a native VisionOS app. As a testament to Apple really thinking through the technical underpinning and leveraging its existing ecosystem, apps which expect a selfie cam are instead shown a view of your Persona (your digital avatar). So apps with video calls or face-filters ‘just work’ without realizing they aren’t even looking at a real video feed.

And it’s really impressive how you can seamlessly run emulated iPad apps, flat Vision Pro apps (called Windows), and 3D Vision Pro apps (called Volumes), all in the same space, right next to each other. In fact… it’s so easy to multitask with apps on the headset that one of the first bottlenecks I’m noticing is a lack of advanced window management. It’s a good problem for the headset to have; there’s so many apps that people actually want to use—and they can run so easily side-by-side—that the software isn’t yet up to the task of organizing it all in a straightforward way.

For now apps pretty much just stay where you put them. But sometimes they get in the way of each other, or open in front of one another. I expect Apple will tackle this issue quite soon with some kind of window manager that’s reminiscent of window management on MacOS or iPadOS.

Being able to run the apps you already know and love isn’t the only benefit that Apple is extracting from its ecosystem. There’s small but meaningful benefits all over the place. For instance, being able to install the same password manager that I use on my phone and computer is a gamechanger. All of my credentials are secured with OpticID, and can be auto-filled on command in any app. That makes it a breeze to sign into the tools and services I use every day.

And then there’s things like Apple Pay which already knows my credit card info and shipping address. On supported apps and websites, buying something is as quick as double-clicking the digital crown to confirm the purchase. Compare that to typing your info into each individual app through a slow virtual keyboard.

And then there’s AirDrop, FaceTime, etc. It really adds up and starts to make it feel like you can do everything you want to do inside the headset without needing to take it off and go to your phone or computer.

SEE ALSO
Magic Leap Shakes up Leadership with New CEO

It’s clear that Apple has spent a long time obsessing over the details of the Vision Pro user experience. Just one example: after I set up the headset it had already integrated the custom HRTF for personalized spatial audio that I had scanned for my AirPods on my iPhone a year or two ago. So without any additional step I’m getting more convincing spatial audio any time I’m using the headset.

So there’s a lot to like about the headset out of the box. It’s capable of so much of what you already do every day—and then it mixes in interesting new capabilities. But as much as you might want the headset to be your everything-device, there’s no doubt that its size and weight are bottlenecks to that urge. Vision Pro’s comfort is in the same ballpark as similar headsets in its class (though it might be a little more difficult to find the most comfortable way to wear it).

One of the most interesting things to me about Apple Vision Pro is that it shows that price isn’t what’s holding headsets back from being smaller and more comfortable (at least not up to $3,500). Apple didn’t have any kind of novel and more expensive tech to make AVP smaller than the $500 Quest 3, for instance.

There’s a path forward, but it’s going to take time. This ‘holocake’ lens prototype from Meta, which uses holographic optics, is probably the next step on the form-factor journey for MR headsets. But R&D and manufacturing breakthroughs are still needed to make it happen.

In the end, headsets aiming for all-day productivity will need to pass the “coffee test”— meaning you can drink a full mug of coffee without bumping it into the headset. I’m not even joking about this—even if it’s otherwise perfect, wearing something that’s going to prevent you from doing basic human things like drinking is a tough trade-off that most won’t make.

– – — – –

So there’s a smattering of thoughts I’ve had about the headset—and what it’s existence means more broadly—so far. You can expect our full Vision Pro review soon, which will include a lot more technical detail and analysis. If you’ve got questions for that full review fire away in the comments below!

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. See here for 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."
  • MackRogers

    wearing something that’s going to prevent you from doing basic human things like drinking is a tough trade-off that most won’t make.

    what a strangely baffling way to surmise your preview. You seem to adopt some sort of persistent non-stop use case scenario which is unrealistic.

    Regarding the comfort. It would be nice to see more people talking about the ball bearing mechanism used to attach the head straps. It is a 3rd party accessory company’s(bobovr) dream. Alternative options will be on the market within 90 days for anyone to choose from.

    These reviewers make it sound like this day 1 early product as anywhere near what it’s capable both in terms of firmware updates as well as comfort modifications.

    • Ben Lang

      I didn’t suggest that all-day use is the only way to use the product. Only that parts of it could make you think that would be appealing, but there are reasons why right now it isn’t really practical. That doesn’t mean it’s useless/

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        I appreciate your level of integrity and bravery for daring to publish this preview, probably fully aware of the spectrum of reactions it would most likely get, regardless of how well your reasoning might be.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Actually Apple’s marketing teams suggested that, also Tim Cook claimed to have used it for an extended period. If this is to be a productivity tool, you would kind of expect it to be used for long periods per day, such as 9 to 5…

  • Star Centurion

    Headset must be a pleasure to use if you’re already integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Would a lot of the points about ease of use still ring true if this was your first Apple device?

    Otherwise, I’m looking forward to the full review. :)

  • Nevets

    Now they (all HMD mainstreaming wannabees) need to focus on designing something that feels comfortable to wear on the head. And as for Meta, their UX problems are so obvious it isn’t even funny. What sort of groupthink is in operation? Out of all the talent in Reality Labs, why hasn’t somebody hired a UX designer to make a simple, smooth, intuitive interface throughout the product, including but especially the store? This is not one of those problems that non-techies wrongly assume is easy to solve. The problems and the possible solutions are there for all to see.

    Regardless, I don’t mind who makes my HMD provided it has a good hardware and software ecosystem. Meta, I’ll stay with you until something better comes along, so you better shape up fast.

    • alxslr

      It’s a culture problem.
      My humble opinion: its time for Boz to go.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Maybe you remember an article Ben wrote last October about the many UX issues with Quest, esp. for multiplayer? (“I Tried to Play VR With Friends on Quest and it was a Nightmare (Again)” A lot of people were defending Meta, claiming the issues were trivial to solve and that his friends not properly preparing was just proof that they hated VR. Pretty much the “get good” attitude many gamers display when talking to “noobs”.

      What sort of groupthink is in operation?

      Oculus started as a company producing a VR display to be used with PC games. Meta/Facebook tried to push it more into mainstream/social VR, got a lucky break with fitness, but is still mostly stuck in the gaming corner. There have been a lot of demands that Meta should bring more AAA titles to Quest, but while people are annoyed by the UI, the calls for broadening the uses to productivity and making Quest more easy to use and attractive to non-games are rather rare.

      It’s not just Meta/MRL, it’s also that most existing Quest users care more about different things than Meta prioritizing usability. And if you read the predictions that AVP will fail due to a lack of controllers and proper VR games, many very obviously don’t want things to change, they only want what is already there, just better.

      • J.C.

        That article just made Ben’s friends look astonishingly stupid. One of the biggest issues was caused by dead batteries in the controllers, with his friend who has clearly never had a battery-powered device before. Because troubleshooting a unresponsive device should start with the power source, but NOPE. A large part of the article was about how difficult the interface was to navigate without the controllers. Maybe he should post an article about how unintuitive it is to use a PlayStation without the controller, since NO ONE would ever guess that maybe the battery died.

        Is assuming that batteries aren’t magical, endless power sources that “get good” mentality you’re talking about?

      • Nevets

        I do remember that article, and I don’t agree that the argument for the importance of improved UX is in any way diminshed if it is the case that users don’t prioritise that as an issue.

  • I love VR! …and use my own VR creative software (ColoryVR/Engine / on Steam) every day, with old 1st gen Vives and a Vive Pro) and keep myself fit with Beat Saber. Neither is possible with the AVP.
    After 7 years of experience in a VR startup, I am convinced that most people generally don’t want to wear any kind of glasses. Especially not for work!

    The future of office work will be via voice-controlled AI´s anyway. A control monitor is sufficient.

    I’m sure this thing will be a total flop. The rich Apple fans will of course buy it, but after a week at the latest most of the devices will be lying in a corner collecting dust…´Even with a price of 200 Dollars I would not have a need for this thing…Happy colored greetinx

    • Ondrej

      Probably why they don’t call it VR and banned devs from using that term.

      Over the last decade the only big group of people who regularly used VR (instead of it gathering dust after a few uses) were so-called “degenerates” – people who want to escape real world and their real bodies. They spend thousands of hours in VRChat, but normies rarelly care about VR. Ironically, it means VR successfully created unique, important value and is helping people every day. But that’s not a trillion-dollar market…

      Carmack recently said that Meta executives internally hate that fact and that whole “degenerate” community (ironic, considering their public massaging is always so “inclusive” – typical fake virtue signaling). It’s not the mainstream and not the cool, productive elite that generates a lot of revenue.

      Apple also has a large history of distancing itself from gamers.

      • alxslr

        They can call it Spatial Whatever instead of VR. That won’t change the fact that, after the first day, people are still going to be considered weirdos wearing that brick with an uncanny image of your eyes on top.
        So welcome to the club, Apple.

        They should’ve taken the Bigscreen Beyond road.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Apple is rumored to have been the largest customer by far for Varjo’s XR-3 HMD, which launched at USD 12000. So they had dozens to hundreds of engineers using the highest end VR HMD available on the market for years. I’m pretty sure that they didn’t avoid VR because they were afraid their HMD could be confused with “degenerates”, but instead because they for a very long time tried what would be most useful for their existing costumers, and VR was not it.

        And Apple makes more money from gaming than their whole Mac department generates, ~1/4th of all App store titles are games. Apple has its own gaming service with Apple Arcade, highly curated to distance it from the image of low quality mobile apps optimized for monetization with micro-transactions. They sell the PS5 DualSence as an accessory esp. for gaming on AVP. They recently introduced a free tool that allows Apple Silicon Mac users to run most x86 Windows games at decent speeds. And until recently Apple generated the 3rd highest revenue from gaming after Tencent and Sony. They may now be in 4th place, after Microsoft finished the Activision acquisition.

        • Arno van Wingerde

          Sure, but those are mobile games with very little depth to them. Depending on your definition on, that is not real gaming…

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Check the list of Apple Arcade games: Stardew Valley, Limbo, Farming Simulator, Getting Over It, Football Manager, The Gardens Between, Construction Simulator, Monument Valley, Crashlands, The Room, The Last Campfire, Beyond Blue, several Lego titles and about 200 more. Those aren’t the typical micro-transaction money grabs that flood Android. These are mostly mobile ports of highly praised Indie games plus some AA/AA+ titles. Some of these have way more depth than almost all Quest titles.

          • Mike

            like he said those aren’t real games. lol. that’s just stuff soccer moms play.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Sorry, even though I’m NOT an Apple fan, I don’t think this headset will be a flop, especially seeing the successful pre-orders.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      But you are aware that Amazon is losing about USD 10bn a year on their voice-controlled Alexa assistant, now considering to introduce subscription fees for “advanced” AI features? And that Google voice-assistant Nest hubs are also only a few steps away from the Google project graveyard? And that the first AVP reviews were pretty solid, with several “I’d use one if it wasn’t USD 3500” and not a single “get a Quest 3 instead”, so maybe the problem is not “any kind of glasses”, but what the glasses actually do?

      • Arno van Wingerde

        What !!! 10 billion dollars per year for that crap? Do they employ one person per device, just to press the button to have Alexa turn the light on? Have bands standing ready to play when I request music?
        Anybody criticizing the Meta UI should try the Alexa interface for a change. The solution to Alexa forgetting one of my Hue lights is to delete, then re add the lamp to the Hue Bridge (messing up loads of groups, animation etc. in the process).
        I thought their software team consisted of five crack addicts…

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          It’s easy to underestimate how expensive things can get with tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of customers sending billions of queries a day. As far as I understand, the main cost for Alexa is the compute power it consumes for speech recognition in Amazon’s cloud, but almost none of these queries lead to a sale, which is what causes the huge loss. And that was the business model Alexa was built for: make it easier for people to spend money on Amazon by giving them a voice assistant that can deal with the whole ordering process. All the customers have to say is what they want to order. Which unfortunately turned out to be not a lot.

          The numbers for large companies are hard to fathom. Apple and Microsoft are worth USD 3tn each, Amazon USD 1.8tn, Meta USD 1.2tn. Meta losing USD 50bn a year would reduces their value by only 4%, so they could pay these insane amounts for MRL for a quarter of a century without going broke. And in reality their other income sources continue to increase their market capitalization, despite burning through the budget of a small country every year just to position themself as an early leader in the metaverse.

    • Dragon Marble

      You are right, the future will be a world full of digital objects controlled by AI. But you won’t be able to see them without wearing a headset!

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Hopefully that never becomes an argument for people NOT to buy a headset.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    So what you’re saying, if you are already an Apple fanatic/user it is ok….. But I’m not an Apple user, I don’t have an iPhone, I don’t have any apps.. I’m not already invested in Apple..

    • Zantetsu

      I think he said:

      “if you are already an Apple fanatic/user it is *great*.”

      In addition, he compared the AVP to its competing products with an analogy of the initial iPhone to its competing products. Some value of the initial iPhone was derived from how it lived within the broader scope of Apple products, but most was about the merits of the device itself.

      I think the article made essentially the same points about the AVP.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      You can’t even order one online without having a rather high end iPhone with the depth sensor required for the face scan. The AVP in its current, very polished, but still very experimental state is not even targeting regular Apple users already heavily invested into their ecosystem, familiar with all the apps, and being able to benefit from the tight vertical integration.

      This is a USD 3500+++ first generation high end luxury product sold in very limited numbers to test how people will use it in the wild, provide developers with something to experiment and prepare the world for the coming cheaper, lighter and more useful versions. So no, it is certainly not for you.

  • MackRogers

    I just want to make it clear.

    90% of people here who are aggressively dismissive and argumentative towards the success of AVP are sunk cost Meta and couldn’t afford an AVP if they slashed the cost in half or even 1/4

    You have to be aware of that whenever you are talking to anyone regarding this headset.

    I am going to be dead honest with you boys. There was a time I could not afford AVP and I would be a raving lunatic on here, “X”, and Reddit denouncing and tearing it down, looking for fights, doing anything I could to slam the product. I would be furious and my anger would have no bounds.

    So I get it. I used to be you. Thank god I am not anymore. But I get it.

    • Zantetsu

      You have the most bizarre, myopic, and gross takes on just about every article.

    • Ben Lang

      It’s just disrespectful to declare that people who don’t like a product don’t like if because they can’t afford it. Be better than that.

      • But he’s right: that plays a very big part of it.
        Not EVERYONE, certainly, but it’s largely there.
        Uncomfortable, maybe, yet true.

        • Arno van Wingerde

          The AVP is expensive no 2 ways about it and any fair comparison to the Quest 3 ought to mention the price level. But I have the impression that about half the people commenting here would be able to afford this thing if it had been perfect. Point is, it isn’t even at this price. I see this as a promising prototype of things to come.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      You’re basically saying that you used to be an ignorant a*hole, but thankfully you now make enough money that you no longer have to be. It may surprise you that behaving like a decent human does not depend on money, and in fact making money apparently doesn’t guarantee that one starts treating others in a decent way. You may have switched the side, but you are still tearing others down, only your reasoning changed.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      I think you are projecting your character unto other people here: I do not badmouth ‘super yachts, private Jets, etc.” just because I cannot afford them – environmental impact leaves enough reasons to do that. I hope you attained some wisdom as well as money…

  • Ondrej

    The moment feels remarkably similar to when the iPhone launched 17 years ago.

    Rather remarkably dissimilar.

    Iphone entered an already established market that was already providing gigantic value in every day life and work. There were over 2 billion cellphone users already in the world.
    It was a paradigm shift with drastically different vision of already giant market

    AVR is a set of minor twists over already existing devices that are niche and considered nothing more than gadgets. So a total opposite of what iPhone 1 meant for civilization.

    • Zantetsu

      Not every characteristic of the market has to be the same for the comparison that was made in the article to be valid. Apple has entered an existing market with a product that compares in the same way to the entrenched products as the iPhone did to its competitors.

      That was the point of the comparison.

    • david vincent

      Another big difference is the first iPhone was relatively affordable ($500) for the masses

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Sure, but at today’s prices that would be $1000 or so and this device is “bigger” so a higher price seems possible. The AVP is not meant for customers, the real thing will have to be somewhere half that price to get masses in.

        • david vincent

          Still far from $3500
          “The AVP is not meant for customers”
          So why comparing it to the first iPhone ?

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Well the hand & eye controlling is new, I do not know a single other device that does it to this extend. The first iPhone was akin to a Blackberry, but without a keyboard (shock!) and a larger screen area as a result. We know how that ended… no doubt Apple is trying this again, although they will have to allo controllers eventually.

    • Yeah, if you think cell phones and smart phones are the same market, you’re delusional.

  • xyzs

    “One of the most interesting things to me about Apple Vision Pro is that
    it shows that price isn’t what’s holding headsets back from being
    smaller and more comfortable (at least not up to $3,500). Apple didn’t
    have any kind of novel and more expensive tech to make AVP smaller than
    the $500 Quest 3, for instance.”

    – Nobody ever asked them to put an expensive and heavy and fragile glass shell in the front + a useless screen (that doesn’t work as well as advertised).
    – Also, they make it larger just because they wanted this rounded shape on the side, but it could have been more narrow it they chose flat sides.
    – They included thick speakers, nothing was restraining them from including AirPods Pro in the box instead of that since their can pair with low latency mode.
    – They used aluminum for the frame, while there are many materials like titanium or composite that could have done much better rigidity/weight ratio. For that price, material cost is not even an excuse.

    Just these alone, they could save more than 100 grams, and make it quite smaller and much cheaper.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      – Glass is more expensive, but lighter and more scratch resistant than comparable plastic, which why all (non folding) smartphone displays are covered with glass. Even high tech glass is more brittle than long polymer chain plastic, but still used everywhere for its durability and better optics properties, important for covering cameras, sensors, and displays.

      – An Aluminum alloy was used for its excellent heat transfer capability. AVP is filled with many powerful chips generating heat, so the whole frame serves as a large heat sink, to help the fans drawing cool air from large holes in the bottom and blowing heat out of the top. Titanium might be lighter, but would require a larger contact surface and larger fans, adding more weight.

      Glass and aluminum make AVP lighter/smaller, not heavier/larger. Dropping EyeSight would reduce weight and volume and make a plastic cover feasible. But Apple apparently never bothered to ask VR users about its usefulness, as they aren’t the target group. Production cost for AVP should be only about 2x-3x that of a Quest 3, the price policies are just very different. Why lower the requirements or margins when they can’t produce more than 450K for developers/first mover anyway due to lacking displays? Price/weight drops and larger unit numbers will come later.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Eyesight will either have to get – a lot – better or disappear in the trash can ASAP – or maybe be limited to PRO versions? It costs money, adds weight & complexity and is creepier than de plastic front other headsets show.

        BTW modern plastics can virtually match glass in terms of scratch resistance, most glasses or now plastic. I carry mine w/o a case, they drop on the ground, are together with my keys, no problem.

        I wonder about the lack of controllers, at least a pencil or something – ever drawn using your fingers? Whereas I like my iPad for consuming, I find it totally inadequate for productivity, after trying to use it on travels, rather than carrying a laptop and an iPad.

        AR seems ideal for 3D work, yet Apple has not even a decent file system or a way to get files in&out to other systems and no controller either? That won’t work for halfway serious work.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          It will have to get a lot better. EyeSight is an essential feature, its purpose is to make communication more natural and socially acceptable, so it’s even more important for consumers than professionals. It adds weight and complexity, but the costs are negligible compared to AVP. Early on two BOMs from supply chain analysts leaked, one listing the front OLED display at USD 30, the other containing a somewhat suspicious “Rearview mirror: 13-15 dollars” (Google Lens translation from Chinese). The creepiness factor will probably go down with people getting used to it and EyeSight improving. A couple of reviewers already said that what they most wanted from the next model was an improved EyeSight implementation.

          A few days ago Road To VR reported about a 6DoF pen controller patent from Apple, similar to Apple’s pencil accessory for iPads. But drawing or typing in mid-air will always be miserable, so connecting a mouse or graphics tablet or even iPad will make more sense. And the whole Microsoft Office 365 runs on iPads, with documents stored and shared in the cloud, so the file system isn’t really a problem. Serious 3D work will require using a Mac with a much beefier GPU though, with the AVP only acting as a display.

    • I bet Apple Vision, the cheaper version,
      doesn’t have the glass shell or the facescreen.
      As a result, it’ll be significantly lighter.

  • Ondrej

    I had 2 major pessimistic predictions about Apple entering this industry over the last decade. One was, fortunately, wrong. The other one, was unfortunately spot on.

    1. Same as people at Meta I was 90% sure Apple would never release bulky goggles with a battery pack. I expected sleek design at the cost of FOV, which would push the industry back into that failed idea.
    Thankfully, I was wrong.

    2. I remember many articles and prediction about Apple turning it into a full Mac with a spatial version of Mac OS. They expected it would be more than a great laptop., the ultimate productive machine.
    But that would cost them potentially billions in lost 30% TAX, so I was sure they would just convert the anti-consumer iOS with walled garden App Store and its extreme limitations preventing it from ever becoming a real computer.
    Unfortunately, I was correct. A ton of kinds of software that you could get on Mac 20 years ago will never be released for technical and legal reasons on AVR. It doesn’t have a proper operating system.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Mac apps rely on a mouse/trackpad to navigate a tiny pointer precisely through slim menus filled with commands, or large palettes of icons, unsuitable for devices controlled by eye/hand tracking or touch screen. iOS and MacOS share the same OS foundation, but iOS has an interface designed for a smaller screen space with large icons used with a single finger, gigantic compared to a mouse pointer and bad for precise input. So making AVP a spatial iPad instead of a spatial MacBook was the sensible choice due to the easily adaptable interface.

      The AVP virtual keyboard seems to work passably, but I rely on a ton of keyboard short cuts and decades of touch typing to get things done on my MacBook, and having to do them with a virtual keyboard would probably drive me insane. I have no issues with using the very inferior keyboard on my phone or tablets, as most apps rarely require text input or exact cursor positioning, and instead rely on rich finger gestures.

      AVP has the proper operating system. With Mac now running iPad apps and AVP usable as a virtual screen with external keyboard and trackpad, the difference is shrinking anyway. And software released for Mac 20 years ago doesn’t even run on a Mac anymore, as 32bit support was dropped in 2019, 12 years after the first 64bit MacOS released in 2007 (G5 still ran in 32bit).

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Christian; I see your point, but also Ondrej’s Keyboard or not, I love my iPad for consumption, tried it for productivity on the go where it is severely handicapped. I cannot conceive using my iPad Pro for serious productivity, unless for making sketches or some such. The AVP inherent those disadvantages together with the advantage you mentioned.

  • wcalderini

    Been a few years since I’ve commented here. It’s gotten a little mean
    and petty at times. But I am looking forward to the AVP (Saturday at
    1:00PM at the latest). This will finally be the headset i can USE to be
    productive and consume content in the absolute best way possible. I’m
    Mac and PC. (Graphic Design Work – PC Gamer Home set-up) My real DIVORCE
    from Mac as entertainment was VR. OG Vive and Rift. Since then I have
    tried/own virtually all of them. (Still waiting on my BigScreen
    though-ordered in late October). From what I can see. This will be the
    game changer. Like it or not, people PAY ATTENTION to Apple. And once,
    people actually start using this thing, THEN you will see the real Hype
    train begin. From Non Gamers, Non VR peeps, and Tech Aficionados. The
    eBay scammers are selling at about cost now. I predict the real demand
    will begin in about 6 months once everyone is acclimated and word of
    mouth has gone from word…to…er…mouth. When the limited production
    capacity for year it’s gonna get SCARCE a bit in the future.

    Like Apple or Hate them, this is gonna shift the surface of the landscape.

    Anyone can come up with reasons why it CAN fail.

    But
    I look through these comments and I see the same tripe I saw with the
    OG IPhone launch. (It it was no great shakes in it’s initial form
    either). The iPod launch. The Powerbook Launch. (I am OLD). Even the
    Apple Watch generated enough vitriol to melt through a pretty good size
    chunk of metal.

    And please, please remember.

    Just because a
    new thing is really good, it does not make the thing you love really
    bad. Many really good things can exist at once. (Says my Quest 2, 3,
    Quest Pro, Vive Pro 2 and Valve Index)

    Lighten up.

    Looking forward to looking forward.

    (And I need a place to sell some headsets.)WRC

    • ViRGiN

      You can’t cheat your way out how uncomfortable and heavy this headset is.
      It doesn’t even support multi monitor Mac setup. This thing is a fun gimmick, but there is no real “spatial computing” or unlocked productivity here. Do we really need 100 inch Music player app docked to a wall?

      • wcalderini

        We’ll see. It’s heavier than a quest 3 but lighter than the index. Although it does NOT have any counterweight to balance things out. (But neither does the Quest 3 in it’s base form and it’s not THAT much heavier). But even the Pimax 5k Super did not daunt me and that thing was top -heavy as hell. I think most of the complaints we are hearing come from the non-initiated, but I agree that those are the most important opinions at this time as well. As far as work flow, it’s going to work great for me. I normally use 2 monitors, but the 2nd Monitor is mostly used for mail, web apps, Teams, and an FTP client. (all covered by known “ready to go” apps that I can place anywhere.) Don’t know if you messed around with Mac OS 10 recently, but with a Huge Monitor at 4k, utilizing “Stage Manager” I think I will be able to increase my productivity. But all in all, it really is ALL just an excuse for a shiny new toy, but I think in this instance, I will actually get more use AND value out of the thing because it hits my PERSONAL sweet spots in particular. (And it does so at the products inception.) Who knows what/where it will go from there And I’m not trying to sell anybody. Not even sure why I commented. Maybe because the Author of the article mirrored a lot of my feeling on the subject.
        Oh yeah.
        NOW I remember why I don’t comment.
        I am FAR too long winded and far too fond of my own voice. :) Be well.

        • Mohd Almarzooqi

          It’s a 2022 hardware in a 2024 software in reality…. People better off waiting for what it’s coming, anyone who attended XR events in H2 last year they will know how outdated Vision Pro actually is… It’s one of the products that was hurt by Covid period… You will get much better products yet cost half the price in less than a year time, and with the focus on 2D and lacking in VR content won’t help swallowing this price tag with the hope on getting more content over time, because time will prove how outdated it’s, infact Apple will be revealing much more efficient chip this year “M4”, it’s a whole level better, so imagine in a year you get half the price headset that’s lighter with much faster chip without the dumb front screen and heavy unnecessary materials…. Can you really swallow it? I spent over 10K on VR so far yet I can’t justify it’s price by any means

          • wcalderini

            Agree 100% with everything you just said. And I can’t justify it by any means. I’m predicting better, faster lighter cheaper by Apple within next year or so. And I’m not Rich by any means either. But since the OG Vive and Rift, I’ve been a VR fool. And I really really just want to be first. Maybe in 20 years, if I’m still kicking, I can recoup my losses by having a vintage “in box” OG vision Pro. (Functioning Original iPhones are valuable). And that’s the thing. This product gives me the same kind of “juice” as the OG Vive. Fool. His Money. going separate ways quick.

          • Mohd Almarzooqi

            I’m in the same loop as you, I spend crazy and stupidly on VR headsets, all the way to Crystal or Varjo Aero from Oculus DK1 lol

            I also placed an order for Vision Pro stupidly again, because I don’t want to think about “oh why I didn’t buy it” or “I wish I can try that”…. But at the same time by no means I will say to someone worth it, since I used Quest 3 everything else became simply not worth it, I also tried VR-4 which is beyond Vision Pro in display tech and Passthrough, tbh it didn’t feel that exciting, it’s as if we hit diminishing returns past Quest 3 specially in 2D content, in VR difference is noticeable enough, but 2D which Vision Pro also focusing on, it’s not that different and hardly noticeable….

            Overall I already spent crazy and I will continue to do so when it comes to VR, I just can’t live without reaching peak of VR lol

      • Today Microsoft launched e special visionOS version of 365 including CoPilot – how is that not productive? Cut them some slack, its day1 of a years long journey…

        • ViRGiN

          So, functionality that is available on any device through a web browser?
          I don’t do my productivity through iPad apps.
          It’s not _my_ day 1 either – VR was a thing for many many years already. Immersed supports multi-monitor even for Mac users!

        • Arno van Wingerde

          Now go and set up a large spreadsheet on the AVP. I am sure it is possible. Productive? No way!

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            You can connect a keyboard and a trackpad, which will show a mouse pointer independent of the eye tracking, and compared to just using it on an iPad, you can open multiple window, position them wherever you want and make them as large as you want. The AVP is actually a “spatial computer”, not (only) a VR/AR HMD, and just from the initial reviews will most definitely be used a lot for productivity work, and often work better than a Mac.

          • ViRGiN

            Does it even allow you to contextualize what you are actually seeing? I doubt it. Probably need to take photo with iPhone, sync it, and then upload it to GPT.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        … Because software cannot be modified, right? Just because this version has only one monitor does not mean it has to stay that way. It is possible changes are also necessary on the Mac side of thing, since I believe it currently only supports dual monitors.

        • ViRGiN

          I use official elite strap with battery for my Q3, no idea about total weight. But in this situation it acts as counter balance. It’s great for gaming. The form factor – and potential benefits of virtual work – still aren’t there to actually work inside it.

          Software can be modified – and opinions can evolve over time as well. For now, it’s one screen mirror – you can’t even use Mac apps as separate floating windows; not officially. We need options – not extremely highly curated ways Apple think it should be done. All of XR is still highly experimental.

          Regardless, Immersed already proved you can have multi monitor support on Mac with Quest 3. The fact Apple does not have such a basic feature isn’t cute.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      John Gruber/Daring Fireball wrote an interesting AVP review with a very fitting quote to assess the predictable reaction to Apple launching a new product:

      Paul Graham has a wonderful adage:

      “Don’t worry what people will say. If your first version is so impressive that trolls don’t make fun of it, you waited too long to launch.”

  • Dragon Marble

    Apple’s presence will force the one most important thing that Meta has failed to do in its XR efforts: focus.

    Different stages of technological development requires different approaches. I would argue that XR is in such an early stage that it still needs more experimentation before it can find its focus.

  • I can not wait to read your full review, Ben!

  • Mohd Almarzooqi

    To me it’s as simple as this:

    Vision Pro is a 2022 hardware with a 2024 software…. The Reason is this: it’s simply outdated in hardware wise, of course it will not look that outdated compared to Quest 3 but look at the price…. If Meta gives you a product that cost this much imagine what it will have, Quest Pro for example had all the features this Vision Pro have but it’s a 1,500$ hardware released 2 years ago or so, now give Meta another 2000$ at that time, easily could get a Micro OLED with superior passthrough, the tech was there but the cost was the issue and we have seen market reaction to it:

    However let’s be honest here:

    1. Vision Pro uses Sony Panel that’s 1 generation older
    2. Vision Pro uses chip that’s 1 generation older
    3. Vision Pro uses Tobi Eye tracking one generation older
    4. It have WiFi tech that’s 2 generational back
    5. It used camera tech that’s 2 generational back

    What makes it worse despite having heavier weight and 7 times the price, it have less FOV than Quest 3 which is second most important thing in VR…. But it’s all in the software, it’s the software you paying for, the hardware is not really that impressive, needing that many sensors and cameras yet to have tracking slightly better than some mainstream headsets is really not that impressive, you adding weight and heat here…..

    The problem for me of Vision Pro is launch date, if it was launched a year ahead of Quest 3 and VR-4 that’s reasonable to ask this price, but launching in 2024 where those 2 exist is really not that impressive tech, I believe it’s the software that made it delayed this much….

    As for display, I tried XR-4 I owned 13 VR headsets, including nearly all the high end ones, beyond Quest 3 we hitting diminishing return, and it’s actually a severe one in (2D) content, but in VR content you notice the difference from Quest 3 let’s say to VR-4 or my Crystal…. Vision Pro is more 2D focused than 3D, so whoever ordered one you should not expect night and day difference, OLED + Pancake have their issues as well like glare

    • philingreat

      Have you tried the AVP to be able to compare it?
      The Vision Pro has an ecosystem and UI that works consistently. That’s the biggest difference.

      • Mohd Almarzooqi

        I tried even beyone Vision Pro and thats XR-4, the problem is VR hitting severe diminishing returns as a 2D content, but in a VR you do notice difference going from Quest 3 for example to XR-4 or Crystal, I owned 13 VR headsets so far, and Quest 3 is first one that made me feel we hit diminishing return beyond it.

        As for Vision Pro, the guys who did try it even the ones who tried it today in Varjo discord they all said same thing, you paying for software, the hardware still like any other VR headsets it have issues which is not shown in ads, dont look at ads and thinking thats what you see, its not even close.

  • Sean Lumly

    So hybrid apps are suddenly ok?! Even forward thinking and a technical achievement?

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Hybrid apps have always been okay. In the early DK1 days people got excited by some short demos, but what they used the HMD for were regular PC games with patched in VR. There was a shift after the commercial Rift and Vive appeared, and an urge to fully utilize the new capabilities, with games that supported VR, but required a game pad, getting downvoted on Steam without restrain.

      But unfortunately the market never grew enough to pay for large VR-only, non-hybrid games, leading to a drought in titles and a quick shift to the lower fidelity Quest platform powered by Meta money. We now see a resurgence and embrace of hybrid games on PSVR2 and with PCVR mods that finally delivered some of the AAA experiences everyone has been asking for, even if they are not in a perfect, designed for VR shape. Them existing is worth a lot more than chasing after a holy grail.

      So hybrid games have always been okay, forward thinking, a technical achievement, what makes economic sense and what people are actually looking for. It just took some time for people to get over their “my way or the highway” attitude.

      • Sean Lumly

        You again? You’re missing critical context, though in your defense you couldn’t have known given my smarmy comment.

        The author of he has repeatedly maintained the negative position of hybrid games as being inferior to made-for-VR content — I’m not disputing this; however, that position seems to have been reversed for AVP ported apps, which the article positively characterizes as being impressive and of value to new users. The situations are directly analogous despite the type of software, lauded in one situation, disparaged in the other..

        example (link must be fixed):
        “[sic] Except in very specific scenarios, it just doesn’t work. Simply put, what’s fun in VR and what’s fun on flatscreen are very different.”
        – Ben lang (twitter . com/benz145/status/1719363763743097110)

        While I (and many others, to your point) would argue the stated position, it’s a valid personal opinion. But as can be seen, it is hardly a ringing endorsement for hybrid games.

        I know how you like to argue (and more crucially, I know _how_ you argue) so I won’t be responding further.

  • MosBen

    Great thoughts, well presented. Thanks. People often forget that that first iPhone wasn’t 3G, which its competitors were, and it didn’t have a lot of the functionality that we think of as essential to smartphones today. It took two or three generations for Apple to really nail down the product, and of course by then Android phones were catching on to Apple’s ideas and within another generation or two it was down to personal preference which ecosystem someone preferred. I’m an ardent non-Apple user, but you have to give the company credit that they historically plow through the first generation or two of a device that is interesting but not quite fully fleshed out into later generations that really work and change the industry.

    This also reminds me that since basically 2015 there have always been people on these very comments sections who couldn’t wait to tell you that VR/AR/XR was imminently going to die, just you watch. And my response the whole time was that the difference between 2015 and prior instances in which VR tried to have a moment is that the technology was finally good enough to present a compelling experience, at least compelling for a niche group of fans. And as long as that niche group of fans were willing to continue putting money into the VR hobby some companies would continue chugging along improving the hardware and developing the software language. And here we are, nearly ten years later, and look how far we’ve come. As Ben says, we’re still not to that final form of hardware and software that pushes VR/AR/XR into mass adoption, but it does feel like we’re 2-4 hardware generations from when that could genuinely happen. The next 10 years are going to be very interesting indeed.

    • Mike

      the problem with VR and why it won’t become mass market is it’s a product catering to the preferences of introvert’s vs extraverts. most people don’t want to put something over their face that will separate them from their real life. also, the ritual of getting into VR is still too cumbersome. I love vr but sometimes I will pass up vr for something else just because I don’t want to go through the process of getting into VR. apple’s headset will fail mostly because it doesn’t do anything that most users wouldn’t rather do outside of VR while disregarding VR gaming almost entirely. most of the people that would don the headset are the same people that Apple is steering away from by not including controller support for gaming. it’s the VR gaming nerds that apple needs at first to grow the platform and they won’t get them without a robust gaming ecosystem and a lower price if we are being serious.

      • MosBen

        I think you’re overestimating the value of the hardcore audience. Apple has never really targeted the hardcore audience with their electronics products, at least not in this century. And with each product the first generation receives largely the response that you’ve had to the VisionPro. Apple makes ideas that are interesting but not fully baked and then in a generation or two they figure out how to make it work enough to make sense to most people and for a price that’s at least nominally mainstream consumers.

  • Morkatog

    This page fails to talk about 2 things other sites have talked about:
    – regardless of what Apple says: it IS a VR headset. Your environment is recorded and projected on a screen. You see AND feel that, unlike with true AR glasses.
    – it costs a small fortune and it’s not even suited for proper gaming.

    Not to mention other stuff that’s on this page that are frankly lies: similar weight to other headsets? No, as an example the pico is much lighter. Also; the Vision Pro doesn’t balance weight. All of this leads to the still unanswered question: what’s this headset for? most of its features can be used more comfortably from your phone.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      So regardless of what people say, the Quest IS a mobile phone. It uses the same SoCs, the same RAM, the same flash, the same cameras, the same sensors, is also mounted in a plastic case designed to be as light and cheap as possible for its price, intended to be used by regular people untethered, so it has to be recharged from time to time, and people can play games on it and connect controllers to it, though other uses and interacting only with your hands also work.

      The fact that two devices are based on the same technology doesn’t make them the same. What really decides what a device is, is how it is used. Maybe some Quest will accidentally drop out of a plane over the Kalahari, and be found by members of a tribe that intentionally continues with their traditional life style, who will then use it to smash roots. That moment the Quest has become a hammer, and no argument about the great games one could play on it will change that.

    • david vincent

      Yeah weird choice to put the same basic ski goggle strap we had 10 years ago. This kind of strap was ok with light headsets like the DK1/DK2/CV1, not with heavier ones.

  • asdpls

    hey ben, I’d like it if you could test for stereo overlap. the quest 3’s overlap ends in the middle of my eye and it’s pretty disorienting for me. the avp supposedly has a low fov so I have my hopes up that they opted for high stereo overlap (for comfort/usability over immersion). you may not have access to applications that can give you a direct measurement, but you can easily test where it ends relative to the center of your eye by just using your fingers

    the other thing i’m very curious about is ocular parallax rendering. they may be able to do it with their eye tracking solution. to test for this, you’d check if you can see around objects when you look to the side. the point is that one’s perspective of a scene changes positionally and not just rotationally when one rotates their eyes and thus without this feature (that is, in all of modern vr) everything is shifted from where it should be unless you’re looking straight ahead. you can test this by blocking one eye with a hand close up to your face and then checking if you can see an object occluded by that hand when you look to the side

  • Mike

    apple has always been for people that don’t like to tinker. they don’t want lots of options and features, they just want it to work. that’s what apple provides. simple products that just work but don’t cater to power users. I kind of think of this apple headset as the Wii of VR. novel and appealing to non-VR users. kind of like how Wii sold to non-gamers based on a gimmick, eventually the gimmick Whears off and the casual users move on. in fact, that’s kind of what happened to VR in general.

  • Lulu Vi Britannia

    This is not a review, this is an ad made by an Apple fanboy. “It’s so good, you have to pinch things instead of using your fingers!” Yeah, just like in the Quest. Literally nothing explained here works differently than in a Quest.

    Thanks for showing me the “intelligence” of Apple fanboys.