Apple Vision Pro is here: Will it be tech's next revolution?
Early reviews of Apple's latest spatial computing marvel are mixed. Whilst some say it's a revolution in tech that'll change the way we see the world, others are worried about the weight of the product on humanity...literally. Campaign unboxes the Apple Vision Pro hype.
The highly anticipated release of Apple's Vision Pro is here—at least in the US, where deliveries are set to begin on February 2nd. A worldwide release date still to be announced.
The futuristic headset, first revealed in June last year, hopes to advance “spatial computing” (blending our physical world and virtual experiences) beyond the limited mixed-reality offered by rivals from Meta, Microsoft and others.
In its teaser video released to coincide with the launch of Vision Pro, Apple says: "Now, digital content blends seamlessly with your physical space. You can do the things you love in ways never before possible."
Apple declares with the Vision Pro, you have "an infinite canvas that transforms how you use the apps you love." From arranging apps anywhere to scaling them to the perfect size, to transforming your room into your own personal theater and myriad collaboration tools to boot, the product is packed with state-of-the-art features. It has three 3D cameras on the front to record films, hand and eye tracking to seamlessly merge the real and virtual worlds, and a front-facing display that mimics the wearer's eyes.
So, is this product truly the next tech revolution or just another shiny toy in the arsenal of digital playthings that exist today?
Well, if the initial reviews (from those with early access) are anything to go by, many are deeming this Apple's attempt to create the next computing platform—one that offers a "glimpse into the future" and talk of a big leap forward for face-mounted computers.
Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of the Verge, described the Vision Pro as "the best consumer headset anyone's ever made, one that represents a huge leap forward in display technology,” but adds that the headset's main problem is that the "technology to build a true optical AR display that works well enough to replace an everyday computer just isn’t there yet."
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern praised "how easy and natural it is to navigate with just hand movements. It's freeing to have no controllers and getting around the interface is just second nature."
Engadget's Cherlynn Low also lauded the product, saying that of all of VR, AR, and MR headsets she'd tried, "the Apple Vision Pro is far and away the best, and easily the most thought-out."
But inspite of the ringing commendations, not everyone has been as impressed. Popular tech video producer Marques Brownlee tweeted that the first time he tried on the Vision Pro it felt "a little heavy." The second time, he said, "this thing is really heavy." On the third try, he was essentially only thinking about how heavy the device was.
First time I tried Vision Pro: Damn this display is amazing and the eye tracking is like magic and this feels very future and also it’s a little heavy
Second time: immersion factor is still so high. Special videos are hit or miss, you gotta get the distance right. And wow this… https://t.co/iqSvs1e8LD
Similarly, a quick Google News scan and you'll find headlines describing the product as "eyesight or eyesore", "universally panned" and "exciting but messy" flooding the feeds. There's also criticism of its limitations, from the constraint of only 150 Native Vision Pro apps (there were 500 when the iPhone was launched, and thousands with the iPad) to YouTube, Netflix and Spotify being notably missing from the app offerings. Netflix's co-CEO Greg Peters said last week that the brand is always "in discussions with Apple to try and figure that out but right now, the device is so subscale that it’s not really particularly relevant to most of our members."
And all the above, without even talking of its price point. At a whopping $3,499 in the US, Apple will undoubtedly still need a lot of work (and investment) to persuade both developers and customers to engage with its latest offering, limiting its scalability. For many who don't have a clear use case for it, it's not unlikely to imagine it will simply remain another desirable tech toy up on a shelf, waiting to be reached.
One of those clear use cases might be for brands, marketers and media companies. For them, the Vision Pro could open up new possibilities for immersive advertising that shifts the user’s role from passive observer to active participant.
Through utilising Vision Pro's sophisticated sensors, brands can enable customers to actively interact with branded content through gestures, voice instructions, or bodily movements. Greater brand relationships could be cultivated by this immersive experience than by the ones that are currently offered on TV, desktop, or mobile.
At this stage, if brands and media companies can recognise that extended reality (XR) is becoming an integral part of media consumption—and they should develop robust monetisation mechanisms before mass adoption—then there might just be a vision for the pros yet.