Apple Vision Pro Shows High Interest, but Questions Linger

Apple Vision Pro Shows High Interest, but Questions Linger
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Two weeks into its release, the Apple Vision Pro has garnered a significant amount of attention into the burgeoning world of spatial computing. Through a combination of impressive hardware specs and presentation of intuitive design, the Vision Pro has piqued the interest of many tech enthusiasts. Despite the headset not being marketed as a consumer product (reflected in the eye-watering price tag of $3,500), sales number in the hundreds of thousands of units. Other competitors, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, have struggled to generate comparable interest while showcasing similar features, as well as targeting similar audiences. The contrast hasn’t gone unnoticed in the press, and while reviewers have praised the Vision Pro’s sleek features, many have asked the same question: Who or what is the Vision Pro really for?

The Vision Pro represents a pairing of Apple’s much-lauded hardware features with intuitive software and user experience capabilities. Sporting the M2 processor found in most Apple devices, the headset delivers a near-4K resolution at an average of 90 frames per second, powered either by an external battery pack or connected by cable to an Apple computer. To interface with their headset, users pre-emptively scan their face with a Face ID-supported product for fitting purposes. Once the user wears the headset, the Vision Pro’s sensor suite tracks eye, hand and finger movements and translates them into inputs, instead of the hand controllers commonly found with consumer headsets. Uniquely, the Vision Pro also features “EyeSight”, providing users with various degrees of passthrough (visibility of the user’s environment) depending on the user’s activity. The Vision Pro projects a rendered image of the user’s face on the back of the headset when in full passthrough mode, progressively dimming to full obscurity when shifting through “Mixed Reality” and “Full Immersion”.

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge’s review of the Vision Pro

To its credit, users praised the Vision Pro’s expansive set of capabilities. Spatial audio built into the headset gives users a high-definition, 360-degree perception of sound. Gesture tracking allows user movements to navigate a projected interface, providing comparable functionality to any Apple computer, all in a tidy package. The Vision Pro’s design philosophy remains in line with Apple’s iconic aesthetics, featuring a magnesium brushed metal body and an optical sensor suite that provides unparalleled quality in passthrough. Finally, the headset can reliably deliver on its frame rate and resolution under load, no small feat for a device of its size. In consideration of all these factors, the Vision Pro seems like it could be considered the pinnacle of advancement in headset design. So, why, then, are consumers already returning them?

The issue, it seems, has to do with two key sticking points endemic to headsets: Comfort and purpose. The Vision Pro can weigh up to 650 grams (~1.4 lbs) depending on the configuration, making it significantly heavier than most headsets on the market. While most heavier headsets are designed to better balance the weight on the wearer’s head, the Vision Pro front-loads all the weight. As a result, users have reported headaches, neck strain, discomfort from the head strap, and more. Even among devoted Apple enthusiasts, some users are unable to wear the Vision Pro for more than small periods of time per session.

The innovative aspects of the Vision Pro can also hamper the user, however. The gesture tracking, for example, can be inconsistent, rendering the headset more difficult to use. The screen on the back of the headset is a lower resolution, causing an “uncanny valley” effect when viewing the projected face of the user to others. The minimized construction of the Vision Pro also means that the field-of-view is reduced in comparison to other headsets, causing users to see the edges of the screens.

The Vision Pro also runs up against a stumbling block for enterprise headsets: Whether the novelty and potential of spatial computing outweighs its drawbacks. Ultimately, the headset’s comparison to a computer is also the standard that it’s graded on. As long as a computer is the cheaper, easier and more consistent method of collaboration and working, enterprise headsets will struggle to see the adoption rate needed to normalize them in a tech ecosystem. Still, the Vision Pro strives to break new ground in the advancement of headset technology, and in that, it wholeheartedly succeeds.

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Go to the profile of Matt Bercot
2 months ago

Interesting article. Thank you for sharing!

Go to the profile of Md sadek Hossain
about 2 months ago

I am trying to develop such a product, to be a country distributor in the retail market,