It’s been a while since we’ve seen something completely new from Apple, and after years of speculation that Apple would launch a headset of some kind, it has finally been announced (one of the worst kept secrets ever because we knew it was coming).
The Vision Pro is undeniably impressive. With 4K displays, infrared cameras, and LED illuminators, not to mention it runs on Apple’s M2 chip and a new mixed-reality-specific R1 chip, the specs are nothing short of impressive (as expected).
But then there’s the price tag – $3,499 (AUD $5500). That’s a big number, especially compared to devices like the Meta Quest 2 that come in at a much more wallet-friendly $299 to $349.
Here’s the thing, though. Watching the demo, I can’t see myself in any of the situations they portray. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see myself sitting on my couch with a headset strapped to my face, scrolling through my vacation photos. And the idea of watching a full-length movie with a sweaty headset instead of enjoying it on my couch with my family seems far from ideal.
If my kids are having a fun moment, would I want to run inside, grab my Apple ski goggle headset, strap it on and record a video, or would I just want to join them? Would I prefer to work with this device all day instead of a laptop?
The Vision Pro could be useful for gaming, but Apple barely touched on this in their keynote. And it’s not that simple, either. There are numerous hurdles in developing VR/AR games, from the lack of experienced developers to the rapid evolution of hardware. There’s a chicken and egg problem here – without killer apps, it’s hard to justify the investment in VR/AR technology. Oculus are one of the pioneering companies in the VR field, and despite trying for a decade, they’re still quite niche headsets.
If I’m dropping $3,500 on a device, I don’t want a half-hearted substitute for consuming the same content I would on any other screen. I want to see the actual future in terms of software, content, communication, and immersiveness. I want Apple to show me something that’s truly a game-changer.
When Microsoft released the HoloLens, that showcased some impressive use cases. Trades people using it to help them do their jobs, medical professionals using it to assist medical procedures. Until Vision Pro is released and we see the type of content available, is a headset to watch 3D movies and look at vacation photos that compelling?
While the Vision Pro is a cool device and no doubt a technical marvel, I’m not entirely sold on it. I’m going to keep an eye on it, and I’m excited to see where Apple takes this technology, but for now, I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground and my wallet in my pocket.