Apple Vision Pro First Impressions

Apple Vision Pro First Impressions

The Studio team has worked with the Vision Pro developer kit for months in preparation for today’s launch, but hasn’t had to touch the product until today. Thanks to some clever scheduling when online sales went live, we snagged a 8:30am pickup appointment for this morning.

Press reviews have been mixed over the last week, so our expectations have been high. Some outlets like The Verge detailed a litany of deficiencies while other tech reporters emphasized the overall quality of spatial computing experiences. Everyone was quick to point out the outright silliness of features like the Facetime Digital Personas, and the awkwardness of having to look at elements directly to interact with them.

The Apple Store Staff seemed slightly on edge, perhaps aware of the negative press and eager to counter lowered expectations. We were asked, “Are you excited?” no less than a dozen times throughout the 90 minute pickup and training experience. We could have just taken the device home but opted for the complimentary tutorial to be sure to get the most out of the Vision Pro for our review today.

Despite arriving five minutes early, we didn’t start the tutorial for a half hour. This seemed to imply the Apple Store staff were already 30 minutes behind only 30 minutes after opening. It soon became obvious why; once our tutorial started it took another 15 minutes for the Genius (do we still call them Geniuses?) to get his iPad connected to the demo unit.

But once we got started? Wow. Mind blown. Expectations exceeded. This is the best virtual reality experience we have seen, full stop.

Gestures are intuitive. Latency and lag are non-existent. The display quality is unreal at close distance. Do not pass on the free tutorial if you have the chance because the sequencing is perfectly designed to layer novel spatial computing experiences on top of each other until one has the sense of being in total control of something completely new.

What we quickly realized is that Vision Pro is fundamentally dedicated to content, both creation and consumption. Another great part of the tutorial experience was being guided through the gallery app in order to understand the difference between regular and immersive photos, and regular and spatial videos. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that there are actually different degrees of spatial video depending on whether they’re produced on an iPhone 15 or the Vision Pro itself. While both devices will produce 3D content, the Vision Pro makes the best. Spatial videos shot on iPhone 15 seem to have dimension only “away” from you, while videos shot on Vision Pro also have dimension “towards” you.

It’s not perfect. The eye seal gets sweaty. The battery cord rather stupidly juts out from the side and locks into place with a proprietary mechanism we’re afraid will break. It’s insanely expensive. And it is fragile to the point that you are not going to simply throw them in your backpack; you will have to purchase a carrying case. And the official Apple carrying case – $200 – looks like something in which a child should keep a Pokemon.

After months of anticipation, our first encounter with Vision Pro was overwhelmingly positive. Despite its cost, Vision Pro unquestionably catapults the entire mobile technology industry into the realm of spatial computing.

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