Apple Vision Pro review: magic, until it’s not

A number of reviews for Apple’s new VR headset have been published, but the only one I think is worth reading is, surprisingly, the one published by The Verge. Both the written and video review are excellent, and go into every possible little detail of the new device. Nilay Patel concludes:

But one of the oldest rules we have here at The Verge is that you have to review what’s in the box — the product that’s shipping today, not the promise of improvements yet to come. And so I keep coming back to all the questions I’ve been asking myself ever since I first strapped the Vision Pro onto my head. Starting, of course, with the most important:

  • Do you want a computer that messes up your hair every time you use it?
  • Do you want a computer that smears your makeup every time you use it, if you wear makeup?
  • Do you want a computer that allows the Walt Disney Company to prevent you from taking pictures of what you see?
  • Do you want to use a computer where you easily can’t show anyone else what you’re looking at?
  • Do you think the fanciest TV you own should have HDMI inputs?
  • Do you want to use a computer that doesn’t work as well in a dark room?
  • Do you want to use a computer that is always looking at your hands?

That is a lot of tradeoffs — big tradeoffs, not little ones. And the biggest tradeoff of all is that using the Vision Pro is such a lonely experience, regardless of the weird ghost eyes on the front. You’re in there, having experiences all by yourself that no one else can take part in. After using the Vision Pro for a while, I’ve come to agree with what Tim Cook has been saying for so long: headsets are inherently isolating. That’s fine for traditional VR headsets, which have basically turned into single-use game consoles over the past decade, but it’s a lot weirder for a primary computing device.

I don’t want to get work done in the Vision Pro. I get my work done with other people, and I’d rather be out here with them.

↫ Nilay Patel at The Verge

The basic gist is that the Vision Pro is simply cumbersome and unpleasant to use, exactly what many people have been suspecting since the day it was unveiled. I’ve been asking a very simple question on Mastodon nobody has been able to answer yet: is there anything you do on your phone, laptop, or desktop, that the Vision Pro can do better, easier, quicker? Now that the reviews are here, not even the people using it can provide an answer.

And think about that last point in the list above. It’s a private computer that’s always looking at your hands.


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