“Stunning, absolutely stunning!” This was the immediate reaction of one thrilled WWDC participant as I was gearing up to try out Apple’s new Vision Pro mixed reality headset. This degree of enthusiasm is precisely what Apple is banking on. However, with a steep price of $3,499, the device will certainly not be accessible to everyone. But if Apple can ignite a widespread interest in spatial computing among ordinary consumers, it would be perfectly positioned to make a grander impact when it eventually launches a more budget-friendly version.
After spending half an hour with the Vision Pro, my feedback is a bit more restrained compared to the enthusiastic participant. This device offers the best VR/AR experience I’ve encountered so far, with unparalleled immersion, high-resolution displays for clear text reading, and an instinctive gesture-based interface. Still, it is, after all, a VR headset and it comes with many of the common issues inherent in the entire genre.
Before I could get a hands-on experience with the Vision Pro, I had to complete a few setup steps on an iPhone. This involved rotating my head to capture a face map, giving the phone a complete view of my ears for personalized spatial audio, and removing my glasses in another room so an Apple representative could determine my prescription with a machine. The Vision Pro is incompatible with glasses, meaning users who need vision correction will have to order custom lenses.
The moment I got to see the Vision Pro at work was truly breathtaking. After managing to overcome my awe of Apple’s meticulously crafted corporate campus, I entered a room where I could try the device firsthand. The process of wearing it was quite similar to any other VR headset: I held the front lenses with my left hand, slightly pulled back the rear headstrap, and slowly placed the device over my head.
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Gallery: Apple Vision Pro first look | 4 Photos
The Vision Pro’s flexible rear headband felt more comfortable on my head than any Meta VR device. Yet, I still felt some pressure against my eyes and around my nose once I securely tightened it using a rear dial. The prototype unit also included a velcro strap over the head, similar to the Meta Quest. This wasn’t visible in any of Apple’s marketing materials, but the company confirmed that the headset’s modular design accommodates additional straps if needed.
The device’s presence against your eyes would still be noticeable even without the overhead strap, which might slightly disrupt the immersion.
Once the Vision Pro was activated, though, any slight discomfort was quickly overshadowed by its impressive performance. I found myself in the same luxurious meeting room I had initially entered, but now an array of app icons was floating before me. With the high-resolution front cameras of the headset, my surroundings were crystal clear, along with the Apple representatives assisting my demo. While not a flawless mirror of reality, it surpassed any VR or AR product I’ve tried so far.
Following a short eye tracking training session, interacting with the interface felt almost like possessing a superpower. Simply looking at an app icon, or a specific menu or button, would instantly highlight it. I then learned two primary gestures: a finger pinch for selection and a pinch-slide motion for scrolling. Unlike with the Quest, these gestures can be performed comfortably on your lap, eliminating the need to keep your hands up in the air.
I can’t help but feel a sense of deja vu, feeling like Tom Cruise in Minority Report
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset
How does the setup process for the Apple Vision Pro work?
The setup process involves several steps on an iPhone. You’ll need to rotate your head to map your face, then give the phone a full view of your ears so it can personalize the headset’s spatial audio. If you require glasses, you’ll need to take them off so that an Apple representative can determine your prescription using a machine, as the Vision Pro can’t be used with glasses.
What is the experience of wearing the Apple Vision Pro like?
The Vision Pro has a flexible rear headband that is comfortable to wear, and the device is fitted onto the head like any other VR headset. However, some users have reported slight pressure against the eyes and around the nose once the device is securely tightened.
How does the user interface of the Vision Pro operate?
The Vision Pro has an intuitive gesture-based interface that requires eye tracking training. Users can highlight app icons or specific menus or buttons by merely looking at them. There are also key gestures, like a finger pinch for selecting items, and a pinch-slide motion for scrolling.
What is the quality of the Vision Pro’s displays?
The Vision Pro boasts dual 4K micro-OLED displays that are reportedly sharper than any other screen on the market, be it a VR headset or a TV. Photos appear incredibly crisp, especially panoramic pictures, which fill your entire field of vision.
How does the Vision Pro compare to other VR headsets in terms of comfort?
The Vision Pro is designed for comfort, with a flexible rear headband that feels better than those on many other VR devices. However, some pressure against the eyes and around the nose might still be noticeable, which could slightly disrupt the immersive experience.
Is the Apple Vision Pro compatible with glasses?
No, the Vision Pro cannot be used with glasses. Those who need vision correction will have to order additional lenses, custom-made to their prescription.
Can the Vision Pro play high frame rate videos like The Way of Water?
Apple hasn’t confirmed if the Vision Pro could play The Way of Water in a high frame rate of 48fps, as it was initially showcased in theatres. However, the 3D and 4K resolution viewing experience has been praised as surpassing traditional theatre viewing.