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My Encounter With Apple Vision Pro

Not knowing what to expect, I signed up for the free demonstration of the Apple Vision Pro headset, at its SoNo Collection store. First and foremost, understand that I’ve never been a gamer, nor have dealt with any VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) devices, so I’m entering the arena tabula rasa. One of my children had an Oculus headset for gaming but ended up selling it because of motion sickness.

The Pregame Show

I trekked down to my local Apple store at my designated appointment time. Apple allocated half an hour for the appointment, and for the first ten minutes we discussed how the demonstration was going to proceed. First thing – my head was measured, and those dimensions were communicated to the “back room” so I could get the proper fit. Hunter, my demonstrator, discussed a little about the unit, and from the outset I made it crystal clear that I wasn’t in the market for the Vision Pro, but merely going through the demonstration as part of my professional knowledge.

And Now – The Waltz

Finally, the Vision Pro that was configured for my head specifications was delivered from the back room. At first glance, it looked like a space age pair of ski goggles, only with a thicker band for the back of the head. It was powered by an external battery connected by a cable – a trade-off, because having an internal battery would put more weight on the face, making it more uncomfortable than it has to be. The buttons are on the device itself are the digital crown (similar to the Apple Watch) and the Top Button. The Digital Crown is the one that is used the most – it opens the Home View, allows you to switch between surroundings. (More on that later.) We ran through a few settings in order to align the unit with my eyes, and off we went.

To say I’ve never experienced something like Vision Pro would be putting it mildly. The first screen is the Home View – which is like a floating home screen with familiar Apple icons on it (similar to an iPad) – but you navigate with your eyes, you gesture with your hands, and use your voice to dictate. The first part past the Home View was the surrounding – the immersive environments – yes, pictures, but looking far more realistic than any pictures I’ve ever seen. And in some instances, the pictures were a 180º wrap around.

From there, the demonstration ramped up – showing some scenarios (a woman singing, a child’s birthday party, some sporting events), all which were more and more impressive as the demonstration proceeded. There were animals that approached the screen and even seemed to poke their noses into my space! The only part I found disappointing was a 3D preview of the latest Super Mario movie. I have never liked 3D movies – maybe because I didn’t find the technology very good in the past, or maybe the entire premise of 3D is overrated. Whatever the reason, that part of the demonstration was extremely underwhelming. The coup de grâce was the final segment – before it was shown to me, I was asked by Hunter if this type of thing would be disturbing to me – was a few beautifully-shot scenes, most notably a woman walking a tightrope across a canyon. The camera angle was from the perspective of the tightrope itself, making it a compelling and pretty amazing experience.

When It’s Over

When the 20-minute demonstration concluded – I removed the Vision Pro and my head felt lighter. It was akin to wearing ski goggles or a scuba mask – it wasn’t hugely uncomfortable while you were involved in things, but once you were done, I felt better that it was off my face. Wearing it for more than an hour would seem exhausting to me. And like putting on a wet bathing suit, I didn’t feel the urge to put it back on again. I was asked (not a hard sell, however) if I had changed my mind about buying it. I reiterated my stance – that it was for professional research purposes, and Hunter said in any event, he would email my measurements to me in case I changed my mind.

What’s The Point?

The images I saw were fantastic – 90% of what I saw was stellar – crisp, clear, and in focus. Some parts of it looked more like a diorama – maybe a little too much of the 3D pixie dust was thrown on that part it. The movies and pictures I saw were pretty amazing – yet I didn’t see a lot of business potential for any user of this. Sure, there could be applications for a business use – for example, a room can be “staged,” or an empty lot can be viewed with multiple variations of houses on the property. Or it could be used for people with vision problems, or perhaps, other neurological issues. Those are the two that I came up with right away, I’m sure there’s more that can be done with it.

Final Thoughts

Because the Vision Pro is so pricy, and it seems to fall more into “entertainment” than “business” arena, I see it more of a niche item. I certainly can’t image in a world where people are walking down the street with these things strapped to their heads. And unless I hit the Powerball jackpot, the $3500 price tag pretty much seals the deal that I won’t be picking up one of these anytime soon. Unlike a Porsche, the Vision Pro is out of my price range – it isn’t – but it’s a matter of justifying to myself. If it were a product that would help me earn more money or something that I feel would be worth its while with my time and money, then maybe. But for now, I’ll sit on the sidelines and see where it all goes.

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