- The Apple Vision Pro, retailing for about $3,500, will hit stores on February 2.
- Apple Vision Pro testers were given a sneak peek at the latest version of the headset.
- Included was a demonstration of the EyeSight feature.
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Business Insider previously did a round-up of people’s thoughts, noting praise of Apple’s precise eye-tracking technology and high-resolution display, as well as criticism that the point of the technology, beyond being kind of fun, may get lost on users.
Demo attendees were allowed to test out features like the EyeSight display screen and user-submitted spatial videos and photos.
Soon, members of the general public will be able to take a spin themselves in a 25-minute demo of their own.
But for now, take a look at the most recent impressions of Apple’s $3,500 headset.
EyeSight is ‘goofy’ but kind of cool
The Vision Pro’s EyeSight allows those viewing the device from the outside to view a real-time feed of the user’s eye movements.
The feature can also show those outside what the user may be looking at, as KTLA’s Rich DeMuro explains. For example, if you are looking at an app, an outsider will see “a small reflection outline of an app window.”
“Talking to someone today while they were wearing Vision Pro the render of their eyes was deeply real,” Josh Rubin at Cool Hunting said on Threads.
The Verge’s Victoria Song described it as “a bit goofy” but said that the feature worked as intended. When the wearer blinks, the headset image blinks along. When the wearer’s eyes are immersed in a virtual world, the rendering disappears.
However, Song explains that it still feels a bit unnatural.
“This is all well and good, but it’s strange to wear the headset and not actually know what’s happening on that front display — to not really have a sense of your appearance. And it’s even stranger that looking at people in the real world can cause them to appear, apparition-like, in the virtual world,” Song wrote.
It looks clear as day, but the wearer can feel ‘excluded’
Testers previously noted that the display screens have an impressive resolution — that’s thanks to what Apple calls its “ultra-high-resolution micro-OLED displays” — and the excitement over it has not changed.
“It feels a little silly to gush about the realism of the images, but I saw no pixels,” Cherlynn Low at Engadget said.
Rubin described it as “crisp, fast, and highly interactive” while noting that the display was “far superior” to competitor VR devices.
Despite this, some users have also noted that while the visual experience is vastly more realistic than other devices, the lack of interactivity makes it all a bit lonely.
Dana Wollman at Engadget, while watching demo clips, said, “I felt immersed, yes, but also excluded; no one in the videos sees you or interacts with you, obviously.”
It’s heavy on the head
Following previous concerns about the weight of the Vision Pro on a user’s head, Apple adjusted the strap, according to Low, to one that fits around the head that was “wide, ridged and soft.” However, Low said, the experience was still painful.
Mark Gurman at Bloomberg forecasted that the heaviness would prove to be the “device’s biggest issue.”
Another option that Apple provided was a Dual Loop band, which provides an extra strap that goes above the head. This proved to be a better option for multiple users.
“Today I tried the Dual Loop Band,” The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern said on X. “Not as elegant looking but definitely more comfortable.”
The hand movements feel ‘natural’
In place of controllers, Apple implemented features that allow users to control action on the display using just their hands.
The movements were “natural” and “freeing,” Stern said.
“It’s freeing to have no controllers, and getting around the interface is just second nature,” Stern said.
One of the ways users can implement hand controls is the virtual keyboard, which can also be controlled by voice commands or eye-tracking.
The primary concern raised with this feature was comfort, with testers wondering if this could be something used for an extended period.
“My main issue with the keyboard was that it felt a little too far away, and I needed to stretch if I wanted to press the buttons myself. But using my eye gaze and tapping wasn’t too difficult for a short phrase, and if I wanted to input something longer, I could use voice typing (or pair a Bluetooth keyboard if necessary),” Low wrote.
Gurman provided a harsher critique of the virtual keyboard, calling it a “complete write-off” on X.
It is still just a VR headset ‘searching for a purpose’
One overarching critique of the Vision Pro has been: What’s the point? Or as The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel put it, it seems Apple is “still searching for a purpose.”
In this most recent round of opinions, it seems testers can’t see past the limited use cases for the Vision Pro.
“I’m just still trying to see where it fits in the real world,” Song wrote.
Overall, it’s still a cool gadget, testers wrote.
“It is fun to use,” Wollman said.