This is the Best Look Yet at What It’s Like to Use Vision Pro

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There have been plenty of hands-on impressions and various glimpses of what using Vision Pro is like, but a new video from Apple offers the clearest look yet at the experience.

Today Apple published a “guided tour of Vision Pro,” which might be painfully scripted, but actually does a great job of showing what it’s like to use the headset (and this is coming from someone who has used the headset on multiple occasions).

Although the demonstration uses compositing to put the imagery from inside the headset into the shot with the user, pretty much everything you see here are actual applications running on Vision Pro—exactly the way they look and act.

The tour shows how to navigate the headset, the Photos application (including what panoramas and spatial content looks like). We also see the Apple TV app in action, what it’s like to use the headset when connected to a MacBook, and with FaceTime between two Vision Pro users or a Vision Pro user and a non-headset user. And at the end we get a glimpse of an immersive application with an app that brings you face-to-face with a life-sized dinosaur.

We also get an ever-so-brief glimpse of Siri used on Vision Pro, at the 3:40 mark.

What I find most interesting about this video is how Apple is primarily highlighting very simple and straightforward uses—like navigating the interface, looking at photos, or doing a FaceTime call—rather than trying to drop people straight into the deep end with fully immersive content.

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Those simple (and familiar) uses get very little attention in the marketing of most other headsets like Quest or PSVR 2. It’s an interesting gambit for Apple to focus on the kinds of things people can already do on existing devices like smartphones and laptops, while most others in the industry are focused on enabling completely new experiences that aren’t possible on 2D devices. Ultimately, the best headset is probably going to be the one that does both.

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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

    what a truly incredible device. what a time to be alive

    • MeowMix

      yikes …

    • Garhert

      They can’t, the device is only able to do Spatial Computing, no VR/XR.

      • Nevets

        Wrong. It’s a VR headset with passthrough. Apple has simply constrained it as they tend to do with the initial launches of new product lines.

        • Garhert

          I know, I was being sarcastic because I felt like the original post was also meant to be sarcastic ;-)

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Nice introduction to AVP, and less creepy than “painfully scripted” implied. But I’m still disappointed. Not by a lack of VR features, but by the resticted interactions, mainly the hand tracking being mostly limited to selection by pinch gesture, plus some grabbing. It’s basically a mouse click, and our hand/eye coordination is so much more capable. People trained in sign languages “speak” with their hands. I’d like to see at least some direct gestures like waving/pushing right to left to scroll through images, or making a fist and turning it to grab a control and adjust it like turning a knob.

    It’s still the windows-menus-mouse desktop metaphor, now on a sphere instead of a flat plane, with all apps placed at the same distance, while XR allows them anywhere at any depth or orientation. I realize this makes sense, they have to transition people coming from computers and mobile devices. Early iOS was “skeuomorphic”, designed for familiarity. Folders looked like wooden shelves, notes like lined paper, switches like physical knobs, to ease people into a new interface. Once people had internalized the basics, UI design went towards abstract shapes more efficient to see/use, but less intuitive to understand.

    So my disappointment was inevitable. In ten years we’ll look back at the AVP UI as a quaint stepping stone from the XR dark ages, not even realizing how much we’ll have adapted to efficiently “talk” to our HMDs, like teens not understanding how using a smartphone can overwhelm their grandparents.

    • David Lee

      I agree. Apple’s use of Windows on top of a room, instead of a fully immersive, edge-to-edge, visual screams “CHEATING-BECAUSE-WE-APPLE-DON’T-GET-IT” ! We can all go to the movies and see a screen hanging in a room. Everything on this device should fill the screen and not be on foating windows. Apple shoud pay US $3000.00 to use those limits..OR give us actual full screen experience of the game or movie!!!

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        You probably don’t agree with what I actually meant. I think AVP is a big step forward, doing interesting and useful things regular people care about. Which is much harder than creating fully virtual worlds using self-defined rules to circumvent unsolved problems.

        Apple aren’t cheating, instead they aren’t going far enough, despite getting it better than other, because they first have to wait for people to catch up. I don’t want to see a few windows or virtual displays in the room, I want to see documents organized like galaxy clusters with usage traces between them, and instead of flicking a wrist in HL:A to pick up resin or ammunition, I want that to zoom to another detail level on a collection of documents, and my multi-tool to reveal its semantic structure. The screen should be filled with my real workspace plus only the objects/documents the current task requires. When I switch to another one, I want gravity to reverse, new objects to surround me while the previous ones go to the ceiling, where I can still grab them.

        For me AVP is a step out of the XR dark ages. The Quest is still part of the dark ages. Yes, it shows fully immersive, edge-to-edge virtual worlds, but they are only filled with toys. Like most humans, I don’t particularly care for toys anymore. I have work to do and need proper tools.

      • The Dice

        I agree. Maybe this quite subjective, but to me visor = virtual experiences, videogames and other appropriate “VR things”, all the rest movies, browsing web, work with graphics should be done on a desk with a computer

        movies on tv

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Most web browsing and gaming now happens on phones instead of desktop computers/laptops. Smartphones also dominate “digital devices” for watching movies with 69% in front of Smart TVs with 61%, laptops 44%, tablets 37%, Chromecast etc. 35%, consoles 26% and desktop PCs 25% (statista 2023). The one thing on your list people may still do primarily with computers/laptops are graphics, though tablets have gained a lot.

          People now barely using their phones for making calls doesn’t cause lots of complaints, so people using XR HMDs for watching movies or running iPad apps shouldn’t either, as long as that type of usage isn’t forced on others. There is no “right” or “appropriate” way to use a phone or headset. Varjo XR HMDs are rarely used for “virtual experiences” or games, instead run things like custom car dashboard simulations covering only a tiny part of the image, while most 3D games are played on less immersive 2D/non-stereoscopic displays. Despite Meta’s social VR attempts, Quests are mostly used for games, but that’s more due to hardware limits than this being the only reasonable use case.

  • Evol Love

    I almost bit the bullet. However the comfort issue is a major turn off. I’ve already been an early adopter for almost every VR headset but I resisted this time. (I’m kind of proud of myself, lol!) I’ll certainly purchase the updated version when it arrives. Until then I’ll keep using the Quest Pro as my wireless all-in-one hmd.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Just got to say, not being an Apple fan, even if it might be scripted, that’s how you present a product like this. This is what you see, this is what you do, this is what you hear. This is what Facebook is afraid of.

    This is the advantage Apple has over Facebook. All the apps you already KNOW from your phone, is right there to use while offering something new. Not holding your phone, not looking down at your phone hurting your neck. But right there in front of you to view in the simplest way possible. That’s a powerful advantage.

    Facebook has no apps like that that are connected in a way that’s just there and simple to use. As I said before, Facebook has no cellphone to draw from to add to Quest. That’s just being real about it. Quest has great technology in it. But again and again I’ve said Facebook has no software that is a killer app or something that will draw in the masses. The price is great. But you need content for it or it’s just going to sit on the shelf. Which is what has happened with retention.

    As much as gamers would hope that Beat Saber or Job Simulator or a huge AAA game, basically something like that is going to pull millions in. Sorry. As a gamer I’m telling everyone, games aren’t going to bring in the masses. But, if you can coexist with the cellphone or even replace it, have every app available that the masses already use, for a reasonable price, that’s going to bring in the masses. Point blank.

    Vision Pro price is high. But it’s just an illusion. It’s going to give casuals something to look forward to. And when that second one hits with a price similar to an iPhone and iPad, that Apple somehow was able to get in a smaller and more inexpensive form(wink), that’s when it’s slowly becomes a wrap. Samsung and Google also have apps that can compete with Apple. Facebook, after spending almost 50 billion, still needs apps that are going to compete or that lower price will mean absolutely nothing.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      I think the demo is impressive… but are we actually going to use it like that? I have a great stereo, could have the same sound quality with headphones – no thank you! I could watch TV on my Quest3 – ditto.
      After the novelty wears off, are people going to put up a head set to answer an email? I doubt it, but let’s see… Of course AVP will get cheaper and better, but it is not yet good enough today.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        People use their devices in different ways. What you do on yours may be different than what I do with mine. But that’s the thing about these devices. You decide how you want to use it. Just like a phone. Some will just watch video. Some will watch entertainment like sports. Some will play games. Some will do productivity. Some will just take pictures. Just like phones are used differently, these headsets will be dependant on the user.

  • mellott124

    It was a good video but was I was still left wondering why do I want one. My VR use cases are gaming heavy. I like the movie and especially 3D video stuff they’re doing but its not enough to justify a $4k headset.

    • ApocalypseShadow

      Apple’s main point is to not replace your headset if you’re all about gaming. They aren’t even targeting gamers. So truthfully, it’s not for you. They are targeting the rest of the masses who use computers, who use cellphones, who consume media. If that’s you as well, then sure there’s overlap.

      Apple is looking to make something, that at the moment, coexists with the home computer, your cellphone, your laptop. But eventually, glasses, headsets that are light on the head, are going to replace those things. Just like the cellphone replaced for a lot of people, GPS devices, cameras, MP3 players, your home computer to access information, etc. People like an all in one device if it’s useful.

      The mass market will play games but more in a fad type sense. Nintendo Wii was a breakout device that got the masses playing. Old people, young people, sick people, etc. But there’s no everyday use for Wii. Where is Wii now? It’s dead like every other fad. Because the masses have no use for fads after they burn out.

      Videogames sell. But usually to the same group of gamers. VR right now, is selling to the same group of gamers. Apple wants nothing of that. They could have demonstrated a game being played. But they didn’t. Why is that? They know it can play games just like any current VR headset. But associating themselves with current headsets just makes the masses think it’s just another VR headset. Something they aren’t even concerned with at the moment. Quest 2 is $250. But the masses don’t care if it just plays games. Fitness apps aren’t the killer app either. Or headsets would be flying off the shelf.

      No. Vision Pro looks to change computing and how you interact with computing. And when the cheaper devices come from them, they look to replace their own devices with them. Facebook can say all they like on how cheap they are or how many games they got. Doesn’t matter. Are businesses going to use Quest? Nope. Will the masses use Quest for everyday use? Nope. No apps, no software to compete or beat a cellphone, just leaves Quest as a gaming device. Maybe their glasses will be something that the masses are more receptive to. But it still needs software that competes with a cellphone. Their next 50 billion they spend should be in creating them.

      • kool

        The avp is a dev tool for the ar we want. The Wii is alive in every motion controller in vr. Ar will become a useful tool once the form factor matures. I can’t think of an industry that wont benefit especially as a training tool for robots. It’ll become our main tool for handling all things robotics and effectively communicating with ai

        • ApocalypseShadow

          Motion control is alive and well with VR. That I agree. Because I tell others that. But the Wii console and motion control games died with the Wii U. The Nintendo Switch started out with motion. But Nintendo quickly abandoned it for regular games.

      • mellott124

        A great response.

        Time will tell. I remember Meta singing the same “VR is more than gaming” tune. Their number one install base is all gamers and they’ve dropped most of the other use cases. They tried productivity most recently but it still hasn’t taken hold. Maybe Apple can pull it off.

        For the masses, there’s currently no reason to pick AVP over the cell phones and tablets they have now. Maybe that will change over time.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The Quest 3 page describes content as “500+ immersive experiences: Discover brand new titles across gaming, fitness, entertainment and more”, with the following examples:

          Meet on Roblox: Discover thousands of new experiences and connect with friends around the world. Get ready to plunge in, headset first.
          Immersive games you’ll love: Wield iconic equipment as you track, blast and trap ghosts in gripping encounters across the Ghostbusters Universe.
          Turn every video into a VR experience: Experience your favourite channels, videos and creators in virtual reality. [YouTube VR icon]
          Fitness, now with more fun: Get instant access to exhilarating workouts that will get you moving regardless of skill level.
          Social apps that keep you connected: Stay plugged in with access to your go-to platforms while in headset.

          Meta hasn’t dropped most other use cases and tries to diversify the use, it’s just very hard. They attracted mostly gamers, many of which don’t want other uses, making comments like “AVP will fail without games/controllers”. Plus everybody hates Meta’s social VR spaces.

        • ApocalypseShadow

          Facebook is trying their best to compete with something they don’t have that Apple, Samsung and Google have. They made a great device. They improved the power, they increased the hand tracking. They offer a lower price. But no useful software. They were going to create their own OS but trashed it. And then ran back to Microsoft. That was a bad decision.

          Now, Microsoft does have apps that people use. But people don’t like being forced to pay a subscription just to continue to use their software annually. You used to be able to get Windows software and just use it. Microsoft wants consumers to fill their pockets from continuous paying. So I don’t know how Facebook and Microsoft will play it. But you don’t have to continue to pay for Apple, Google or Samsung apps. You buy the device, you use the apps. That’s how it would be.

          You’re right. No reason to pick up a Vision Pro to replace anything yet. It’s just going to add to Apple’s hardware offerings. But it’s really just a tease of what is coming next. What comes next is smaller goggles and glasses that we know is possible from third party offerings getting into AR.

          Questions for the future is going to be where you are allowed to use it. Casinos are out. High security areas are out. Out and about will be fine. In a car will most likely only allow GPS AR pop ups, phone calls and read messaging. Watching a movie while driving will be out. Things like that. But laws are next in this whole interesting thing that’s coming.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        But is your AVP replacing your phone? People like the Apple Watch because it partly replaces their phone in a less obtrusive way, you see the messages as they come in, without having to look on your phone. But are you seriously going to walk with these things on “permanently”? Are you going to use it for two hours per day? Maybe just for video conferencing? Questions, questions…

  • psuedonymous

    It’s noticeable that Apple have become very cagey over showing hand occluding virtual objects. Coupled with other recently posted demos where hands have switched to translucency rather than cutout interactions, it seems their poor camera placement (shoved to the edge to accommodate the ‘eye view’ display occupying the faceplate area) has come to bite them in getting perspective-correct passthrough working adequately and reliably.