When the review embargo got lifted earlier this week, my eyes were glued to screens, watching people’s impressions and getting a better understanding of the nature of Vision Pro. My excitement for Vision Pro grew from “casually interested and curious to what this will be like” to “I had trouble sleeping one night due to the excitement.”
I am not prominent enough to have gotten a review unit, so my review isn’t going to be that kind of review; the professionals did a great job of enumerating everything about the device. You should check out some of the other reviews first. Nilay Patel’s review is excellent, and if you want a more fun one, Joanna Stern did a delightful review where she characteristically did the most outrageous things you can imagine.
I’m just going to share some thoughts about the things that struck me the most about Vision Pro using it over the past couple of days.
This would be way too boring to read as a single post, so I’m going to break it up into multiple categories, going into more detail in each one.
Verdict: It Takes Some Getting Used To But It’s Awesome
My opinion of Vision Pro has evolved rapidly over the course of the last 48 hours.
I usually am getting a new iPhone on a yearly basis nowadays, and I routinely buy the first generation versions of Apple products, but this is deeper than that; it’s Apple’s first attempt at a brand new category of product, and one that you interact with in a radically different way than any of their products beforehand. The 1984 Macintosh fits that category, as does the first gen iPhone. iPod kind of fits this category but it was a relatively simpler device and didn’t make the same splash when Apple released it.
I think over time we’ll look at the Vision Pro as the biggest stretch Apple has ever made venturing into new product territory. Maybe if you factor in company size the iPhone wins out as a bigger stretch because today’s Apple is a size not even in the same league as it was when it was developing the iPhone, but in absolute terms, Apple put incredible effort and resources into making the Vision Pro. Hell, they literally designed custom silicon just for this thing, something they didn’t have the capability to do when they developed the first iPhone.
Getting up to speed using the Vision Pro has taken a lot longer for me than other new products. I spent the first few hours feeling like something wasn’t quite right, and I was questioning whether I needed to rework my prescription lens inserts or go to an Apple Store for extra help or more. My device currently fails to set up Optic ID and I think it might be a hardware problem, which I’m in touch with Apple Support to resolve. Even after getting proficient with Vision Pro and getting accustomed to some of the limitations, I think that the hand gesture input method is going to need a few software updates before it’s good. I am confident it’s fixable in software; Apple just needed more real-world use.
Visually, some stuff is rough, and I think this is a side effect of the fact that we’re pushing up against limits of what current hardware can do. People who try a lot of VR headsets and the Vision Pro confirm that Vision Pro is doing things visually that are vastly better than whatever else is on the market.
Do I recommend buying one? Honestly, you already know the answer to that in your heart. But for most people I know I would say no, and even if I didn’t say no, the $3500 starting price tells most people this isn’t for them yet. This generation of Vision Pro needs to go to early adopters who tolerate the jankiness and who can help give Apple the feedback to get it working as a mass market device. I was happy to buy a Vision Pro, but I also bought a 2019 Mac Pro, which permanently recalibrated my sense of pricing for computer equipment. If the price tag doesn’t scare you away and you’re comfortable with owning not only a first-gen product, but a first-gen product made by a company that’s never even tried making a product quite like this before, then yeah, grab one and I think you’ll have a lot of fun with it! Apparently there are a number of Apple stores that have units in stock still.
Over the next couple of days I’ll share a series of other posts about a few different aspects of Vision Pro. Note that I’ve been writing these posts on a handful of different devices in a handful of settings, so if you see some inconsistency there, that’s why.