Apple Vision Pro is about to set a lot of expectations in the industry of what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ about mixed reality, something the fruit company prefers to call spatial computing. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey weighed in on his thoughts, and coming from one of the main figures who kicked off the VR revolution of today, it means something.

Speaking to Peter Diamandis in a nearly two hour-long podcast, Luckey delved into many areas of his work over the years, touching on the role at his defense company Anduril, his role in kickstarting the modern era of VR, and basically everything under the Sun that the tech entrepreneur is doing, or thinks about when it comes to augmented and virtual reality.

Undoubtedly the hottest of hot button issues is whether Apple is doing mixed reality ‘right’ as a newcomer to the space. Luckey is mostly positive about Vision Pro, saying it’s patently Apple.

“I think there were things that I would do differently if I were Apple,” Luckey tells Diamandis. “They did basically everything right—they didn’t do anything terrible. I mean, I think Apple is going after the exact right segment of the market that Apple should be going after.”

Luckey maintains that if Apple went after the low end of the market, it would be “a mistake,” saying the Cupertino tech giant is taking “the exact approach that I had always wanted Apple to take, and really the approach that Oculus had been taking in the early years.”

Apple is admittedly going at XR with little regard for affordability, but that’s not the sticking point you might think it would be. To him, the $3,500 headset packs the best components for the premium segment, including “the highest possible resolution, the highest quality possible displays, the best possible ergonomics.”

In fact, Apple’s first-gen device shouldn’t be about affordability at this point, Luckey says. It’s about “inspiring lust in a much larger group of people, who, as I dreamed all those years ago, see VR as something they desperately want before it becomes something they can afford.”

Image courtesy Apple

In the world of component configurations, there’s very little that catches Luckey off guard, although Vision Pro’s tethered battery ‘puck’ was choice that surprised the Oculus founder a little bit. When it comes to offloading weight from the user’s head, Luckey says shipping a battery puck was the “right way to do things.”

“I was a big advocate of [external pucks] in Oculus, but unfortunately it was a battle that I lost in my waning years, and [Oculus] went all in on putting all batteries, all the processing in actual headset itself. And not just in the headset, but in the front of the headset itself, which hugely increases the weight of the front of the device, the asymmetric torque load… it’s not a good decision.”

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One direction Apple has going that Luckey isn’t a fan of: controllers, or rather, the lack thereof. Vision Pro is set to ship without any sort of VR motion controller, which means developers will need to target hand and eye-tracking as the primary input methods.

“It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of VR input, and I think that’s probably one of the things I would have done differently than Apple. On the other hand, they have a plan for VR input that goes beyond just the finger [click] inputs. They’re taking a focused marketing approach, but I think they have a broader vision for the future than everything just being eyes and fingers.”

Luckey supports the company’s decision to split the headset into a puck and head-worn device not only for Vision Pro in the near term, but also for future iterations of the device, which will likely need more batteries, processing, and antennas. Setting those expectations now of a split configuration could help Apple move lighter and thinner on head-worn components, and never even deal with the problems of balancing the girth and weight seen in the all-in-one, standalone headsets of today.

In the end, whether the average person will wear such things in the future will ultimately come down to clever marketing, Luckey maintains, as it’s entirely possible to slim down to thinner form factors, but devices may not be nearly as functional at sizes smaller than “chunky sunglasses”. To Luckey, companies like Apple have their work cut out for them when it comes to normalizing these AR/VR headsets of the near future, and Apple will most definitely be seeding their devices on the heads of “the right celebrities, the right influencers” in the meantime.

You can check out the full 15-minute clip where Luckey talks about his thoughts on Apple Vision Pro below:

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • XRC

    “premature cost reduction is the root of all evil” (old engineering joke)

  • Man, getting to talk to Palmer face to face must just be the coolest thing ever.

  • Nothing to see here

    One thing Oculus, and every other VR headset maker, got wrong was the insistence that we hold a weird controller with not enough buttons in each hand and wave our arms about because immersion or something. Somehow boring old two handed controllers you can use while sitting comfortably have got the job done for decades now yet they are not even an option in almost any VR game on any platform. An exception is Gran Turismo 7 which lets you use the PS 5 controller like a steering wheel and it works great.

    • Dave

      Completely disagree. The controller is not the problem. The problem is the use case for controllers. You shouldn’t need to use them until they are truely beneficial to use. So moving around an interface, resizing windows should really be done with hands. Having a pointer is just unweildy, however when shooting a weapon, then it makes perfect sense to use a controller and absolutely no sense what so ever to jesture a firing action with your hand, or blinking twice, it just doesn’t work. This is why Palmer mentioned it.

    • NL_VR

      complaining about controllers, do you even play VR-games?
      or did you just lose interest in gaming.

    • Jistuce

      It depends greatly on what kind of game you’re going for. I’ve got plenty of vehicle-based games that support gamepads and joysticks. Some support very elaborate input configurations.

      But for first-person games, where I’m controlling a humanoid? Head and hand tracking isn’t ENOUGH. Space Pirate Trainer or Beat Saber(to name two old but popular examples) wouldn’t be anywhere NEAR as fun if you were wiggling analog sticks and tapping buttons, because a major point of them is you’re in the game. I genuinely want some 70s sci-fi waldo suit for full-body tracking and realistic force feedback. I don’t care if I look like Tron Cosplay Guy while I’m playing(Hell, that might be a bonus).

      I own a vehicle game or two that uses tracked motion controllers for specific effect. V-Racer Hoverbike specifically resisted adding gamepad support because they want as close to a “real motorcycle” feel as they can get without mailing a custom bile handlebar controller to everyone. (They did eventually add it, I believe primarily for accessibility purposes.)

    • XRC

      Yesterday, using Xbox controller with House of the Dying Sun, Project Cars 2 and Aircar with Pimax crystal. Then this morning using same equipment to play Hellblade: Senua’s sacrifice.

      • ViRGiN

        wow, aircar on a pimax crystal! glad to see pcvr evolving so much! its a widely different scene than it was just 4 years ago LMAO

    • ApocalypticSwampFunk

      Millions of VR gamers have been attempting to convince VR devs to provide immersive motion controls in their games for around a decade and now you want to drag us back into the dark ages…

      If you enjoy using an Xbox controller you should get into PCVR as there’s loads of options for VR gaming using that input method on that platform

  • sfmike

    When he decided to push a political agenda, he lost all credibility with be. I’ll never forget.

    • Guest

      Lost credibility when I first tried the Rift, but he understands “inspiring lust” of gamers and selling his user-base, so he will always knew more about people problems than hardware.

    • Anonymous

      I do not like him either but it is incredibly stupid to judge tech arguments, topic completely unrelated to politics, based on politics.

      Ultimately you essentially become the figure that you hated yourself.

      • MosBen

        Eh, it’s fine to dislike people who hold bad political positions and take action to support those positions.

        • Jistuce

          Disliking people for their politics is fin- well, actually it is gross to me, but it seems to be the norm these days so… whatever, I’m not fighting that fight. Ain’t got the time or influence to convince everyone to behave in a civil manner.

          But dismissing someone’s opinions on anything out of hand because their politics are different is a pretty bad attitude. Just because he supported Trump’s bid for president doesn’t mean he doesn’t know VR tech.

          • MosBen

            I was mostly replying to the part of the comment that said “Ultimately you essentially become the figure that you hated yourself.” And I disagree with that. It’s fine to dislike someone based on their horrible politics. And even in this specific case, Luckey isn’t providing any information or insight here that’s groundbreaking or necessary for someone to be reasonably informed about VR. Nobody needs to read this transcript and it’s totally fine to skip it because his politics are bad.

    • Martin Landau

      Palmers sister roxanne luckey said palmer fixed her up with some of matt gaetz friends, where she was raped as a white house intern under trump. She then cussed out her sister ginger luckey for marrying accused pedo sex trafficker matt gaetz. This is all public record. So instead of supporting his own sister, who needed help and support for being raped, instead of supporting her rebuke of matt gaetz sleeping with underage girls, palmer goes to matt gaetz wedding. Endorsing pedo abuse of trafficked sex slaves.

      Then he gets ginger luckey to publicly disavow roxanne. Jesus said something about millstones to hang on palmers neck for hurting children like this. Dont forget that his mentor joe lonsdale beat ellie clougherty during a rape and made her bleed on hotel furniture, and palmer took lonsdales side when this became public. So while i do support his political party, the man himself is pure evil and scum. Maybe he could have redeemed himself and showed true bravery when zuckerberg demanded he sign a written statement disavowing trump, but the coward signed it. Forever being remembered as a traitor. All for greed. why ben lang allows this satanic devil to receive any media attention shows what a whore ben is too, pathetic. Palmer hurts children and roadtovr still sings his praises.

    • Ardra Diva

      Only because you disagree with his politics. If he’d been on the other side you’d have been cheering.

  • Jeremiah Tothenations

    Love this guy, will watch the podcast, he’s a patriot as well! Hope he reenters vr industry he helped create.

    • ApocalypticSwampFunk

      he’s a patriot as well

      I had no idea that Palmer Lucky played American football

      What a talent

      • Jeremiah Tothenations

        You know what I meant, I know it’s cool with those brainwashed by America’s “education system” to hate on your own country, but thank God there are exceptions.

        • Darshan

          He wasn’t through traditional Education System may be is the reason, he is not properly brainwashed. yet his support for ‘red elephant’ costed him separation from Oculus. May look so progressive, deep down US too is hypocrite , isn’t?

          • Jeremiah Tothenations

            Apparently he was fired for being anti Hilary, can anyone blame him for that, she’s a horrid creature?!

            He’s not a Republican, he’s a libertarian.

          • Dale Kirkley

            He was fired for actively bringing politics into an arena where politics had no place being, whatever your stance is. Let VR be VR.

          • Jeremiah Tothenations

            Haha, with Facebook (and almost the entire establishment) helping to steal an election and being completely partisan in favour of the Democrats. You’re having a laugh.

            They didn’t like Palmer because he dared go against the regime, he also did it in his spare time. He should’ve sued them for that discrimination.

            Glad he got to use the $2b he made from them to help save the country from that kind of vermin.

  • Always like to hear Palmer’s insights about VR. But honestly I kindly disagree with the all-in-two format. I’ve not a big fan, plus this headset seems to be front heavy, too

    • MosBen

      Interesting. I’ve always thought that an all-in-two setup made the most sense. Indeed, I’ve always thought that having not just the battery but all of the compute parts in a puck, leaving the HMD to just have sensors and display, made a lot of sense. Drastic reduction in weight and heat on the user’s head, reduced form factor for the HMD, and it would allow the HMD and the compute unit to be upgraded independently.

      • Darshan

        And yet no one on this path except….well not so Magical Leap. They were too AR and not VR. Why no one is doing all computing + battery on Puck and Absolutely feather light VR headset? Even apple also didn’t let puck do computing they just separated battery.

      • Darshan

        May be no company want you to upgrade compute independently …is secret reason after all.

    • Master E

      I always figured the front loaded weight was actually a good thing to counteract all the phone use and looking down. The amount of weak extensors muscles people have.

      If anything it could be a benefit in the long run for peoples posture.

    • VrNima

      Some people are so evil, greedy, to throw their own sister roxanne luckey to satan for money and power, that any insight at all to anything should be totally ignored. While people like you Tony sing the praises of satanic demons that hurt children, this world will continue to descend into hell. You should be ashamed for your ignorance and cowardice. Pathetic.