You Don’t Need An Apple Vision Pro, But You’re Going To Want One After Trying It


It’s been three days and I’m still thinking about that headset.

On Tuesday, I was invited to the Apple store in Midtown Manhattan for press demos of the recently released Vision Pro. For those unaware, it’s what the company calls a spatial computer. You wear it on your face and there it sits, something like a MacBook Air right in front of your eyes, but you control it in a one-of-a-kind way.

After being introduced to my friendly Apple specialist, Jenna, she took my glasses to a system the store has that figures out my prescription so that I can see out of the customized Vision Pro they were going to bring me. Physical glasses can’t be worn with the gadget so you’re equipped with ZEISS Optical Inserts to be able to use the headset properly.

After my customized set was brought to me (to try, not to have), I learned how to loosen and tighten the band that would secure the set to my face. I also learned that a battery pack is attached because to have built it on the headset would have made the product too heavy to be worn.

From there, she gave me a rundown of how things would go. As an actual computer, there was a pointer — my eyes. Whatever app I wanted to open, whatever I wanted to do, I could control the set just by looking in a certain direction or at a particular thing. Once it was in my sight, I could “click” on it with my fingers, tapping my thumb and index finger together in view of the headset. Using those same fingers on both hands, I could zoom in and out of pictures and pages I was navigating via Safari. If ever there was an issue picking what I wanted using my eyes, or selecting something with my fingers, I could always use a dial, the digital crown found at the top of the headset, to scroll around and press on what I wanted to. (The dial is also pressed to take you back to your home screen.)

If I wanted to send text messages and not use my fingers to air type out something, I could just say it out loud and the message would be written. And if I wanted to actually work work in the way that I do, writing stories, I could always get an actual keyboard and set it up to the product so that I could do everything quickly while still being able to do it from the set.

Within the 30-minute demo, I got to see a colorful sample photo library up close, including spatial videos that make you feel like you’re in them as bubbles floated past my face and birthday candles were blown out right in front of me. I watched movie clips with great clarity as though I were in the movie theater. And I put myself in an “environment,” or fully immersive backdrop, that could make me feel like I’m in completely different setting, another country even, while navigating my favorite apps.

Even while doing all of that, if someone said something to me and I looked in their direction, I could see them. They would come into view just enough that you are able to be aware and connected to people around you. That feature is called People Awareness by the way.

You Don’t Need An Apple Vision Pro, But You’re Going To Want One After Trying It

Another standout was being able to experience Apple’s newest entertainment format, Immersive Video, which features 180-degree 3D 8K recordings captured with spatial audio to make you feel like you’re in the studio with Alicia Keys, in the wild feeding rhinos or tightrope walking thousands of feet in the air. It was wild. And as previously mentioned, the movie watching experience is pretty outstanding. With more pixels than a 4K TV, it could be your new TV if you really want it to be that.

So the Apple Vision Pro, is it a must-have? There are some things that make me a little hesitant to say yes with my chest. For one, the price is a hefty one. For the lowest level storage, which is 256GB, you have to cough up $3,499. Wear glasses? That’s an additional cost. For the reading glasses crew, there’s a $99 fee for the inserts. For those with prescription glasses, the fee jumps to $149. If you want more storage, because, well, this is still an actual computer that can be utilized for the same purposes as your laptop, costs jump by about $200 for each of the three GB offerings. I also noticed that when you’re watching the immersive video, that is perhaps one of the only times the People Awareness doesn’t work. So, for example, during my demo, someone dropped something not too far away from me and it made me jump because whatever they were holding hit the floor with a loud thud. If I were at home, I would have probably snatched the set off my head to make sure all was clear.

But I will say, as I noted in the previous paragraphs, there are some really cool things about the headset. When I asked Jenna why she would say it’s worth it to get the Vision Pro, she spoke from the perspective of a film enthusiast, noting that the headset gives you a personalized viewing experience. I agree. And as someone who doesn’t go to the movies anymore (the pandemic was the initial reason, then having two kids within said pandemic just made it hard to watch a movie that wasn’t streaming in my house), I would love to use a product like this to truly enjoy a 3D-like film experience from my living room.

I also loved getting to really see all the details in the photo gallery, as well as the ability to capture video in a way that makes me feel like I’m transported into the scene. The idea of getting to fawn over the cutest photos and videos of my kids, which I already do at a not-so-high quality (but still impressive), made me think this could be a good gift to give myself. And getting to read stories up close was a nice change versus holding a phone up to my face. They’re also actively rolling out a whole host of apps specifically for the device, 600 new ones to add to the more than 1,000 already available. There are also 250 titles and 12 unique spatial options for gamers who I’m sure are having a time with the gadget.

For me, the cost is too big of a hurdle for me. Laptops in general have greatly increased in price these days, and the set is the cost of a trio of that aforementioned MacBook Air. Nevertheless, I get that that is a cost for the personalized experience you can take wherever you want. And it is quite the experience. That said, I think for tech buffs who have to have the latest piece of hardware, and I know a few, this is a great addition to one’s collection. It’s definitely a fun time, is incredibly advanced in its features and does indeed operate like a computer for day-to-day use. For the everyday person, it is an investment, and financing is available for it. If you’re intrigued, you can book an appointment for the 30-minute one-on-one demos to try it out for yourself and see if it’s something you need to make your own. Whatever you decide, it will certainly be an experience you won’t soon forget.

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