The Potential of Apple Vision Pro

apple vision pro

When I first heard of the Apple Vision Pro, I did not pay much attention. I have tried out a few different AR/VR headsets, and while they are very cool, I have never had a desire to purchase one for my own use. However, as I have done more reading and research, I am beginning to think they hold more promise than previous headsets. My interest is piqued for a couple of reasons. First, it is Apple and one must take into account the degree to which Apple and its products have seeped into our everyday lives. Many of us have Apple products in our pockets, on our desks, on our nightstands, on our wrists and on our counters. This ecosystem of products has our TV series, movies, music, pictures and communications. Now consider how this headset connects you to that everyday life in a way that no other headset can.

Before we go too far into the good things, we do have to address the very significant issues with the product. The first problem is the price. The $3,500 price tag is truly a bit outrageous. When you consider extras like a protective case and extra battery, you will easily spend $4,000. One can make all kinds of arguments about how this replaces monitor screens and televisions and saves money, but I am still not buying (literally) it at this price point. The second problem is the concept that the headset is principally designed for a single person. It is sized to a person’s face shape and it uses their eyeglasses prescription if necessary. It scans the retina of the user in order to unlock the device and only a single account can be set up on it. It can be used in guest mode, but it is a pain to set up and very limited. Finally, all reports are that the device is simply too heavy when wearing it. People are complaining that their necks hurt after using the device for any length of time. Social media even has some people posting that they are returning the devices. Clearly this first generation tech is not for everyone. I argue that although these are two major setbacks, do not count Apple out. This is a very sophisticated company that makes very strategic decisions. The company knows what it is doing. After all, remember:

  • “Who would want a computer without a floppy drive, serial port and parallel port”
  • “Who would pay $600 for a cell phone”
  • “Why would anyone pay twice as much for a Mac than for a PC”

Well, with $73 billion in cash on hand, Apple’s answer to each of those questions is, a lot of people.

Sure, the price may come down some, and the company may even introduce a “Lite” version. But I would not expect to see the Apple Vision Pro ever be priced under $2,500. The idea of it not being able to be shared is also not a surprise. After all, your iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch are all also not designed to be shared. Apple doesn’t want you to share it. Apple wants you to get your own and make it YOURS! The weight? Well, that is a problem. I imagine that the company is very aware of this problem and knew about it when they released the device. It will get lighter in future gens, and third party providers will put out equipment that will counterbalance the weight. Apple wanted to get this in the hands of the bleeding edge technology fanatics and start getting feedback.

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What about the promise of the device? Many of the best reviews I have heard about the device are from people who use it while traveling, and this speaks to me. I find flying to be one of the most boring and time wasting things I can ever do. If you are flying coach, like almost all of us do, then you know that there is barely even room to take out an iPad and watch a movie, forget taking out an entire laptop. However, if I can put on my neck pillow and then strap on the Vision Pro and be entertained for hours on end, I am very intrigued. I certainly can not afford to fly first class, but perhaps a one time outlay for this headset makes every flight more relaxed so that I forget I am crunched in a plane.

Another very valuable use of the headset is the everyday work we do on our computers. I have a 32” widescreen monitor on my desk, and I tell everyone that asks about it that I have no idea how they work without one. It allows me to multitask, in ways that a standard monitor simply does not. Using the Vision Pro takes that capability to an entirely new level. Along with your computer screen you have access to your other apps as well, creating a multi-tasking oasis.

Of course we also have to think about entertainment in everyday life. There is great potential for watching movies, series and gaming on the Vision Pro. I think the big potential here is the interaction with others. Watching your favorite series on the headset while your friend in another state (or country) is watching it with you as though you were sitting on the couch together is awesome. Videoconferencing with others without having to awkwardly hold your phone is a new level of intimacy and one step closer to that feeling of being in the same space.

When considering what a device like this has for a future, one has to consider the intended audience, both today and in the future. This is geared towards people in their late teens to early thirties, who already use technology in ways that are different from people in their 40s and older. These are also people who may have more disposable income than people in their thirties that have started families and purchased homes. My kids almost never use a television. Most of what they watch is on their iPad or their phones. For school work they use a computer, but for most other tasks they use their phones. They will fill out forms, etc. on their phones that I would never attempt. I have even seen them write short papers on their phones. These are things those of us in our 40s and older don’t do. So when we think these are not for us, and why would anyone want one — we are right. They are not for most of us — but that does not mean no one wants one. As this generation grows up having moved away from the traditional ways we use monitors and televisions, this technology will grow with them. So yes, those of us who are still footing our children’s college bills may not be interested, or chose not to use our disposable income on the Apple Vision, there is significant promise in the product.