Tim Cook talks Vision Pro secret prototype | Photo of security guard

In a new piece in Vanity Fair, Tim Cook talks Vision Pro – including his first ever experience of using an early prototype of the device in the company’s secretive design block.

The piece doesn’t say when that was, only that it was before Apple moved to its current campus, and that it was “years ago; maybe six, seven, or even eight” …

It’s like a “monster,” Cook tells me. “An apparatus.” Cook’s told to take a seat, and this massive, monstrous machine is placed around his face. It’s crude, like a giant box, and it’s got screens in it, half a dozen of them layered on top of each other, and cameras sticking out like whiskers.

“You weren’t really wearing it at that time,” he tells me. “It wasn’t wearable by any means of the imagination.” And it’s whirring, with big fans—a steady, deep humming sound—on both sides of his face. And this apparatus has these wires coming out of it that sinuate all over the floor and stretch into another room, where they’re connected to a supercomputer, and then buttons are pressed and lights go on and the CPU and GPU start pulsating at billions of cycles per second and…Tim Cook is on the moon!

Cook said he didn’t know then how long it would take Apple engineers to transform that huge prototype into a wearable device, only that he knew they would.

Apple’s marketing head Greg Joswiak comments that the experience of using Vision Pro for the first time often leaves people speechless for a time.

“You know, one of our most common reactions we love is people go, ‘Hold on, I just need a minute. I need to process what just happened,” said Greg “Joz” Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, as we ate lunch at Apple Park. “How cool is that? How often do people have a product experience where they’re left speechless, right?”

Cook echoed my own comments about the Viture One glasses – that you can just lie back and watch a movie, compared to the need to sit at a particular angle to watch a TV.

“You can actually lay on your sofa and put the displays on your ceiling if you wish,” Cook told me. “I watched the third season of [Ted] Lasso on my ceiling and it was unbelievable!”

The CEO says Apple has theories and plans for the future of the technology, but can’t say for sure where it will end up.

“What we do is we get really excited about something and then we start pulling the string and see where it takes us,” Cook told me. “And yes, we’ve got things on the road maps and so forth, and yes, we have a definitive point of view. But a lot of it is also the exploration and figuring out.” He concluded, “Sometimes the dots connect. And they lead you to some place that you didn’t expect.”

The full piece has more personal impressions than Cook quotes, but is an interesting read.

Photo by Job Moses on Unsplash

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Tim Cook talks Vision Pro, and his secret prototype experience

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