Apple Vision Pro hands-on: A new milestone for mixed reality, but issues remain

“It is easily the highest-resolution VR display I have ever seen,” he said. He said there was a bit of a learning curve to figure out the right gestures to use, but that the “eye and hand control gestures were really impressive.” He did not experience any motion sickness. The Apple Vision Pro also has a wheel (Digital Crown) to zoom in and out within the mixed reality. Users will be able to navigate the interface with hand gestures and voice.
These updates will enhance the functionality of iPhones, iPads, smartwatches, and Mac computers. The company had reportedly hoped to shift some 3m units in the first year. But expectations have been scaled back; some analysts now expect Apple to ship fewer than 200,000 units in 12 months, an order of magnitude less than any other big product launch. Yet it is also the first step on the way to something that Apple hopes will be much bigger. Park Hotels & Resorts, operator of two of the most prominent hotels in San Francisco, is handing in the keys on the properties — and, in essence, giving up on a city that has fallen on hard times. The Fifth Circuit recently granted Illumina’s request for expedited review, and a hearing is set for August.
The device was considered ludicrously expensive when it launched at up to $599; these days a top model costs $1,599, a price people are willing to pay because it can do so much. Perhaps Apple can normalise paying thousands of dollars for a pair of glasses in the same way. Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud.
After a bit of eye tracking training, which involved following dots moving around the screen with just my eyes, it also felt like I gained a superpower. A mere glance at an app icon, or a specific menu or button, would instantly highlight it. Then I learned two key gestures, a finger pinch for selecting things, and a pinch-slide motion for scrolling up/down, or left/right. Unlike the Quest, you can also make those hand gestures comfortable on your lap; you don’t have to hold your hands up like an amateur symphony conductor. We’ve seen Apple struggle to adapt the iPad for creation over the years, even after the company blurred the lines with the iPad Pro — a hybrid device much like the Surface Pro that blends laptop and tablet.

When you put on the headset, there’s a quick automatic eye adjustment that’s much quicker and more seamless than on something like the Quest Pro — there are no manual dials or sliders for eye settings at all. Apple wouldn’t say anything specific about its field of view this long before launch, but I definitely saw black in my peripheral vision. The Vision Pro is not as totally immersive as the marketing videos would have you believe. At $3,499, the device is more than three times as expensive as Meta’s rival VR and AR headset, the Quest Pro, and more than ten times as expensive as the Quest 2, the social-media firm’s widely used VR device.
The device will be capable of toggling between virtual reality, or VR, and augmented reality, or AR, which projects digital imagery while users still see can see objects in the real world. At the very least, Apple has succeeded in crafting the most impressive pitch for spatial computing yet. It’s not just about games or forcing people to care about the metaverse. The Vision Pro wants to bring the things you already do on your computers into mixed reality. Perhaps this will lead to cheaper and more consumer-friendly headsets down the line. Maybe it sets Apple up for a hologram-filled future, where you don’t even need to wear glasses to see digital elements.
It’s one of the first times we’ve seen Apple launch a “pro” device without a corresponding entry-level equivalent since the MacBook Pro in 2006. And just like the MacBook Pro, the Apple Vision Pro was a “one more thing” surprise at the end of an Apple keynote. But the original MacBook Pro was obviously designed primarily for professionals in a way the Vision Pro isn’t. For individuals who wear glasses, Apple has teamed up with Zeiss to create prescription Vision Pro lenses, as the headset sits too close to the face to accommodate eyewear.
He said the headset is “really, really well done,” but that he isn’t sure whether the headset will really bring about the onset of spatial computing like Apple claims. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern said the Vision Pro was intuitive to use, has the “fit and finish” of an Apple gadget and is more comfortable than Meta Quest Pro or Quest 2. But even so, she said “It’s not for everyone. It’s not even for most people.” By the end of the demo, she said her nose and forehead were feeling the weight of the device, and she experienced some nausea. If you missed it, Apple announced its headset on Monday during its WWDC developer conference. The $3,499 headset is its first major new product since the Apple Watch in 2014 and is set to launch early next year.
She added that, unlike other Apple devices, this one can’t disappear into a pocket or a bag, so it requires some “suspension of disbelief and a sacrifice of autonomy” to use it. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino said the Vision Pro is “nothing less than a genuine leapfrog in capability and execution” of mixed reality. He said the gesture control and eye tracking on the device is “near perfect,” and he found that the resolution made text easy to read. This new Apple tool enters the market of virtual reality glasses with might because of its ability to interact with the real world. Shadows are now implemented for better awareness while wearing the glasses. Apple officially launched a new era for the Cupertino company with its launch of the Apple Vision Pro on Monday.
The prototype unit also has a velcro strap that goes over your head, just like the Meta Quest. That’s not visible on any of Apple’s promotional materials, but the company tells me that the headset’s modular design supports additional straps if necessary. Before I was anywhere near the Vision Pro, I had to jump through a few setup hoops on an iPhone. First, I rotated my head around to map my face, then I gave the phone a full view of my ears for it to personalize the headset’s spatial audio. I hopped into another room, took off my glasses, and an Apple representative used a machine to detect my prescription. The Vision Pro can’t be used with glasses, so anyone who needs vision correction will have to order additional lenses.
It looked human, but also stiff and robotic — the uncanniest of valleys. If you were to FaceTime your parent, I’d bet they’d rather see your actual face, with all of its imperfections, instead of a cold CG simulacrum. After spending 30 minutes with the Vision Pro, my reaction is more tempered than that excitable attendee. It’s undoubtedly the best mixed reality (VR/AR) experience I’ve had yet, delivering an unparalleled sense of immersion, with displays sharp enough to read text on websites, plus an intuitive gesture-based user interface. And yet, it’s still just a VR headset, with many of the issues endemic to the entire category. The Verge’s Nilay Patel said the device is a “really, really nice VR headset” with impressive video passthrough and displays.

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