Initial reviews are in about Apple Vision Pro, and while everyone agrees it’s a look at the future of Apple, it’s not the most comfortable one.
Consensus about Apple Vision Pro is mostly unanimous, with everyone interested in the prospect of spatial computing but unable to pin down what the killer app might be. It has been deemed an interesting product, but one meant for developers or consumers with deep pockets — not widespread appeal.
Very few people have been able to access Apple Vision Pro hardware since it was announced in June 2023. Questions quickly arose around the product’s usefulness, the battery life, and whether it could be used for long shifts of work.
Apple Vision Pro went up for pre-order on January 19 and initial shipments and in-store availability begin on February 2. A lucky few have been able to try the headset ahead of its release, and we’ve gathered the initial impressions or full reviews from various popular publications and YouTube personalities.
AppleInsider will be conducting its own extensive review of the Apple Vision Pro, as well as an in-depth analysis of its various functions and features it offers at the launch of Apple’s new computing platform.
The Apple Vision Pro has the potential to be amazing, “and sometimes it is,” starts Nilay Patel for The Verge, “but the Vision Pro also represents a series of really big trade-offs” that are “impossible to ignore.”
These range from weight and the use of an external battery pack, to philosophical ones, such as whether it will be good enough to beat normal computing. “There is a long way to go before it can beat ‘out here,'” he muses.
A “stunning” headset compared to other VR ones, the solo loop was found more comfortable, was “unquestionably cooler,” and made less mess of a user’s hair, but Patel also wished the mounting points were on the outside so that it could be pulled around the head and clipped instead of pulling over his hair.
The displays look “generally incredible — sharp enough to read text on without even thinking about it, bright enough to do justice to movies.” Meanwhile Apple’s passthrough view “s an astonishing engineering achievement to do that in real time, at high resolution, in a computer that fits over your eyes. ”
However, in his opinion, “This is the best anyone has ever made in there look, and it’s still not nearly as good as out here.”
Using it, “The first few times you use hand and eye tracking on the Vision Pro, it’s awe-inspiring — it feels like a superpower,” that fades and “actively makes using the Vision Pro harder.”
Summing up, the Vision Pro “astounding product. It’s the sort of first-generation device only Apple can really make.” However, he ultimately feels he wants to “get work done” in the Vision Pro,” and its “isolating” experience doesn’t help matters.
“Living in the Vision Pro for the past week has been one of the most complex experiences of all,” opens Scott Stein for CNET. “It’s one of the hardest products I’ve ever had to evaluate. Parts of it are stunning. Others don’t feel entirely finished.”
The “best wearable display I’ve ever put on,” Stein remarks “There are parts of the Vision Pro that feel like any other Apple device, and parts that decidedly do not.” A lot of this stems from the connective hardware, including the bands and the “odd” battery situation.
“Apple’s passthrough cameras are the best I’ve seen, with almost no distortion. There’s a bit of blur and lag when I turn quickly from side to side, and the quality dips in low light, but it’s good enough to see details in my room through.”
“Even though Vision Pro doesn’t do any room setup to map your room, as basically any other headset I’ve ever used has done, it still has room awareness. This shocks me. It’s scanning and using depth mapping invisibly. ”
In usage, “I’ve been trying the Vision Pro as my own computer and it feels like monitors all around me. Over to my left is a 3D golf game. To my right is a floating set of photos. I’ve paired a Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. I can float a TV. I can ask Siri to start playing some music.”
“It’s great, except for when I find that the virtual display sometimes doesn’t connect, or my display shows a connection problem and freezes up.”
Summarizing his thoughts, he asks “Will the Vision Pro be the first step toward modern spatial computing in mixed reality as we know it from now on? Maybe.” The eye and hand tracking is what makes it “seem futuristic,” but it’s still “not the final version.”
While not everything Stein does on computers is available for the headset yet, “I imagine a future version of Vision Pro as something that could swallow them all up someday. Not today. ”
Initially recounting some “WTF moments” in initial experiences from using the Apple Vision Pro, Mark Spoonauer of Tom’s Guide insists the headset “is an incredible piece of technology, with eye and hand tracking interface that puts the competition to shame.”
Even so, there are “some early bugs and some very weird things that come along with this revolution,” such as the “freaky” Digital Persona. All included in the “most innovative product Apple has created in over a decade and a fascinating look at the future of computing and entertainment rolled into one very sleek package.”
The heaviness of the headset is still a problem, as after 30 minutes, he said “I felt it weighing on my cheeks.” After using it for several hours on and off, it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear, but he did feel like “taking periodic breaks because of the heft.”
The headset “feels revolutionary because of how easy it is to operate,” thanks to its controller-free design. The quick acclimatization to the headset is helped by a simple calibration process of following a dot and selecting it, before being drawn to the home screen.
Selecting icons on the home screen is “immensely satisfying, relaxing, and easy to do.” However, while eye-tracking is great and OpticID for security works well, it did occasionally fail during testing and required a quick PIN code entry on a floating keypad.
The floating keyboard is “not very satisfying,” in part due to the lack of tactile feedback “even though you hear clicks as you type,” and you’re resorting to hunt-and-peck typing that slows typing down. “I do like that you can enter text with your voice,” he adds, pointing out that a paired Bluetooth keyboard is better for mass text input.
Though people may easily “scoff” at the Apple Vision Pro because of its price, the reviewer argues “it’s the most innovative Apple product since the original iPhone.”
It’s “unmatched” on the 3D video experience, with an “insane amount of ingenuity on display,” but the app situation is “clearly still in the early stages.” The price issue may be solved by the next generational release, with the battery and “unnerving” Personas are current-gen pain points.
Ultimately, the Vision Pro is “definitely revolutionary, but it’s a revolution very much in progress.”
Heralding the “future of computing and entertainment, CNBC’s Todd Haselton writes that “While it has some shortcomings, it’s easily the most fun new product I’ve tried out in years.”
“I’m only scratching the surface of the capabilities, but here’s the gist: This is an entirely new type of computing, providing a whole new world of experiences. It feels like the future.”
“Navigation is easy once you get the hang of it. This reminds me a bit of the iPhone moment, when Apple launched its multitouch display that changed how we interact with phones that had largely been navigated with a stylus, touchpad or keyboard. There aren’t any controllers here.
While declaring “I’d buy the Vision Pro right now if I had an extra $3,500,” he concludes that it’s “Apple’s most exciting product in years and it’s the best example yet that this will become a new way of computing.”
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