OPINION: Apple Vision Pro impressive, but needs work

Apple’s latest tech is impressive and the best of its class, but a several thousand-dollar spend is not justified, at least not yet. 

In all fairness, I should begin by mentioning that I write this with a limited perspective of the Vision Pro. Frankly, augmented reality is not my expertise, nor has it been my biggest interest at that. I also only had half an hour to test the device, so given the limited time, I didn’t have the chance to try everything. 

Firstly, in terms of comfort, it did just about okay. The device held onto the back of my head nicely, although it pressed onto the front of my face too tightly, leaving very noticeable red marks that eventually faded away. No matter how much I tightened it, there was inevitable light leakage coming from the bottom, which Apple says is normal. The Vision Pro is definitely bulky, but I didn’t find its weight to be as much of an issue as other critics made it out to be. That said, I can’t speak with certainty to longer stints, which are the nature of use for this product, but I can imagine it’d become uncomfortable after a couple of hours of continuous use. 

As for features, contrary to the hype, there’s really only so much you can do on the Vision Pro. There are no exclusive apps for it, and everything you do on it can be done – some more efficiently I would argue – with a Macbook or iPhone, which are a fraction of the price. The Vision Pro’s only advantage is its ability to give you more productivity and an elevated experience. And while it may do that, I don’t think it provides a $4,000 experience, nor does it produce a $4,000 level of productivity. That leads me to my next and main point. 

The functionality of the Vision Pro is not all too great. Yes, it is amazing to simultaneously see several screens in front of you and seamlessly navigate through them, but that eventually becomes a less inconvenient alternative to shifting through tabs on a Macbook. Doing everything with the pinch of a finger can be a bit tedious as well. Especially as an avid writer, I was irked at the fact that I needed to move my eye from letter to letter and pinch my finger at each one to type. I’ll admit, it worked better than I expected it to, but it was still a third of the speed I usually type at. There has to be a better way of typing on the Vision Pro. Needless to say, that becomes a huge time waste and for many like me, leaves the Vision Pro with little practicality. It seems to be a better product for entertainment use.  

That almost does it for my critiques. To give credit where it’s due, I was very impressed with the sharp image quality; however, there is a blur which mimics that of a peripheral vision and a horizontal blur, which again, is an intentional feature. It becomes more intense (and bothersome) under motion, which affects the overall experience. The immersiveness is stunning, and the 3D depth looks incredibly realistic, allowing you to see videos as if you were in the moment (but not reliving them, which is a huge emotional difference which I firmly believe no device can bring back in full). 

The Apple Vision Pro was Apple’s way of breaking into the augmented reality space. The same way that the first AirPods were overpriced, subpar bluetooth earbuds, the first Apple Watch was a slow, almost useless device, and even the first iPhone had very few apps and a painful web browsing experience, the Vision Pro is a product in its first iteration. The same way Apple dominates the market in those products, I have no doubt it will do the same with the Vision Pro, but a generation or two down the line. 

The first-gen Vision Pro is undoubtedly an impressive piece of technology, but its inflated price tag will continue to deter me away until I find a strong need for it.