My Apple Vision Pro Demo

I had an opportunity to do a demo of the Apple Vision Pro yesterday. The following is a write-up of my experience.

The Demo

My store had a section blocked off with a couple of tables where a few people can do the demo all at the same time. It was a sitting experience and quite loud in the room, unfortunately. Not the ideal setup, because of the noise, and the other people in my view”, but it probably didn’t deter the experience much.

The Hardware

Apple took my current glasses so they could add the appropriate lease to my demo device. While I waited, my guide talked to me about what to expect and her experience with her first demo.

The device itself is very slick. High-quality materials. A very premium looking piece of hardware. Exactly what you would expect from Apple.

I didn’t think much of the weight at first. I adjusted my straps and while I could tell the weight was in the front, it didn’t seem significant or uncomfortable. A 20-minute demo is not enough to know.

One of the things I didn’t think about until after the demo was the audio. There is nothing covering the ears. Yet, the audio sounded pretty good, even in a noisy room. Not the same as it would be with good headphones or a good living-room sound system, but impressive nonetheless.

The UI

After some adjustments, the demo started. When things booted up, I was looking to the side and that is where my UI stuck”. So, as I waited, I was looking elsewhere and didn’t even see the boot up sequence. Apparently, where you’re looking when your Home Screen loads is where it will stay, until you move it.

I remember glancing to the side and noticing the Home Screen floating there, and then I realized what was happening. I adjusted.

The UI looks spectacular. It just floats there in front of you. It looks as if you can touch it. Everything has a soft” look to it. The area you’re looking at is crisper than the surrounding area, as in real life. This also makes it possible to put more processing power into the area you’re looking at rather than what you’re not.

As I look around with my eyes, the icons light up. It’s obvious your eyes are your primary navigation (without getting into the accessibility options).

Clicking a selected UI element is obvious. Tap your fingers together. I was initially holding my hands up when I did this, but realized that was not necessary. As long as my hands were not obstructed under the table, it worked just fine while resting.

There are other gestures for scrolling and zooming.

The Environments

I was then guided through the UI and the Environments” that could be enabled using your Digital Crown” on the headset itself. You could fade the environment in and out. This allows you to sit in the Alaskan mountains, or a beach, while you work or play.

Photos and Videos

Next, I took a tour of some photos that were taken on various iPhones. Initially, they were standard photos that looked great. I could easily resize and zoom in and out. Next, were the spatial photos, which were taken from newer iPhones or the Vision Pro itself. These photos were much more realistic and had a depth to them that didn’t look fake 3D but more lifelike than any other photo I’ve seen.

I then experienced the video where I’m sitting at a table with the family watching the young girl blowing out her birthday cake candles. I think this was the first oh wow” that came out of my mouth. Other than the limited field-of-view from the goggles, it really did feel like I was sitting there in the room.

After experiencing this, I genuinely understand why we would want to record these moments so that we may watch them again whenever we want. It was quite remarkable. On the other hand, I don’t envision myself wanting to wear a Vision Pro during these moments. Maybe recording with a phone instead. There needs to be a better way to record these moments without being taken out of the moment itself.

Movies

Next, was a quick demo of the Mario movie. During which, I was able to resize the window to Movie Screen” size and experience what is like to watch a movie with the Vision Pro. I could envision myself watching movies on this device. However, I think some movies are ideal for the Vision Pro, while some may not be. This video explains it well.

The Recap

Last, was a 5-minute video that went through various landscapes, including mountain climbing, flying, interacting with rhinos, and a few other things.

I did back up when the Rhine came at me. I thought I could feel things slightly that were not really there, like the mist, or the cold rain. My mind was filling in the gaps. It was pretty cool.

The demo ends

This concluded my demo. I was a bit disappointed it ended so quickly. I was expecting to see some dinosaurs, touch a butterfly, and experience the mindfulness features. Not only that, but I didn’t experience Personas, or what it would be like to us a Mac, or take a Zoom call. Things I would expect to use in real-life.

Motion Sickness

I’m someone who gets motion sickness easily. I can’t ride in the back seat of a car on long trips or ride rollercoasters. Yet, I didn’t have any problems at all with the Vision Pro. Sure, I may have felt a little unbalanced when I was suddenly on a high tight-rope looking over a river. But that’s part of the experience.

Long Periods?

Could I use the Vision Pro for long periods of time? Could I use it to work on my computer? Read a book? Watch movies? I don’t know for sure. While the device was comfortable during the 20 minutes I was wearing it, I did notice I was very sweaty when I took it off. I would imagine it would get uncomfortable to use more than a couple of hours at a time.

Antisocial?

A big issue I have with the Vision Pro is that it is primarily a solo experience. While you can, optionally, see other people in the room and interact with them, they won’t see what you see. What if I want to watch a show with my wife? Or a movie with my kids? I suspect this is something Apple will resolve over time. There will be more ways to have a shared experience, assuming each of you have a Vision Pro.

Will I buy a Vision Pro?

I think I have the same reaction to the Vision Pro as most people. It’s technically outstanding, but it’s too expensive, and I don’t think I would use it enough.

No, I won’t be buying this first version of the Apple Vision Pro.

I will certainly be watching the next versions to see how Apple improves things. Make it a little lighter, a lot cheaper, and more capable (especially in multi-player) then it will be much more interesting for me.

As it stands, I don’t know if there are many benefits to the Vision Pro as a productivity” device. Perhaps, it could be used to replace your expensive monitors. You can then easily take your setup with you, even to a coffee shop.

There are certainly some situations that sound as if they would be wonderful with the Apple Vision Pro. Between comfort and battery life, I don’t think it’s quite there yet. I’m excited to see what it looks like in a couple of years.


Date
February 17, 2024
Tags
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