Vision PrOMO

Because I contain multitudes, I am both kind of bearish on the Vision Pro’s likelihood to really get traction as a product, but I did get up around 4:30am this morning (edit: yesterday morning; I was tired last night and didn’t get to posting this) and manage to order one despite being in the midst of a power outage in my home (which has since been restored).

The preorder experience was the smoothest I think I’ve ever had from Apple in recent memory. Usually it’s chaotic and I’m waiting several minutes past 5 to even see the Apple Store app acknowledge that it is indeed 5. Not this morning. I was let into the store seconds after it turned 5 and I had an order confirmation email at 5:03. Not bad for a device that required me to also do a face scan. That ease of ordering leads me to believe demand is pretty soft, as I thought it might be. But turns out supply is even softer, and within an hour the store started showing ship times into March.

The reactions in my Mastodon feed are an interesting mix. For some Apple enthusiasts it was a no-brainer of a preorder (surprisingly, Alex Cox was not one of those people, but a bunch of people chipped in and fixed that). For others, it makes absolutely no sense and they’re sitting it out.

And there’s this third group I’m seeing, who are trying to come off as though they’re in that second camp, but I can hear this wisp of regret in their toots as they try to insist they aren’t feeling FOMO. And the thing is, I believe them, but also it feels like this group of people feels like they’re betraying their inner tech enthusiast by not being a day one adopter of this thing.

I continue to think that not buying a Vision Pro right now is the correct default move. It’s not priced for ambivalence, and as the first gen product, this is going to be the worst Vision Pro Apple makes. Hell, I wouldn’t even be too surprised to see its replacement announced this year with an M3 chip.

The Vision Pro as it will arrive on people’s doorsteps on February 2 is going to be a very limited product. There’s a handful of stuff it can do, and it’s very likely that there are features it lacks that you’ll be surprised it lacks because your imagination filled in the gaps when you were looking at promotional materials.

And Apple is going to be really supply constrained this year anyway. The most optimistic estimates suggest Apple might be able to ship a million of these in 2024. So if your heart isn’t up for trying one of these out, it’s for the best. A Vision Pro isn’t of much use if it just sits around collecting dust in your house.

I think Vision Pro has serious risks that might keep it from being a decent sized platform:

  • Not even Apple’s designers can pull off making you look cool wearing one
  • Based on iPadOS which is kind of limited and only recently has started supported app window-type workflows
  • Can only install App Store apps
  • No one’s going to want to make apps for Vision Pro now that they know how hostile Apple is to developers, especially w.r.t. trying to take that 30% cut of revenue
  • It’s an isolating kind of device to use still, and is only kind of portable
  • It’s hard to show it to your friends to let them try it, especially if they need prescription lenses, so it’ll be an uphill battle selling people on the thing
  • It’s still unclear what the killer app is for any VR type headset (remember, other companies have been making these for ages and they have yet to take the world by storm)

And with these various risks in mind, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see how things play out first.

As for me, I ordered for a few reasons:

  • Its virtual Mac display feature sounds like a thing I’ve always dreamed of having. I wish it could be a virtual 5K display instead of 4K, and I wish that it was a wired connection, but word on the street is it works great.
  • I’ve been waiting for years for Apple to make a Studio display that’s larger than 27" 5K and I figure dropping 4 grand on this slightly different Mac display product instead will surely jinx that product into existing this year.
  • It’s not every day Apple enters a completely new product category like this, where fundamentals about how you interact with it are brand new. This feels comparable to iPhone, and I had to hold off on that because I wasn’t an AT&T customer at the time. I’m just kind of excited about seeing the first version of Apple’s entrance into a new product category.

But the thing is, regardless of how you’re feeling, your feelings are valid! 🥰

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