Thoughts on Apple Vision Pro

Just had a demo of Apple Vision Pro at my local Apple store. Here are my thoughts.

Pre-demo experience

Apple Vision Pro. Image copyright Apple.

The pre-demo experience is very good. You make an appointment online, you show up late to the Apple store because the subway system in the Boston-area is always broken, and they check you in. Once you’re checked in, another Apple employee leads you to a desk where you sit down (big fan of being able to sit down at the Apple Store) and they ask you a series of questions, including if you wear glasses. You’re then asked if you have an iPhone with Face ID so you can measure your face. (I just got an iPhone 14 finally after my beloved iPhone SE 2020 finally started to get very slow, especially when taking photos.) which then presents you with another QR code that the Apple Store associate scans and then another person brings out a Vision Pro headset from the back that is already sized to my head. I was also asked if I’d used other VR/AR stuff.

You’re then shown a few of the controls, including the digital crown which has made the leap over from the Apple watch, and another dial to adjust the headstrap. You’re also told to pick up the device in a particular way, which feels a bit like the Antennagate (“you’re holding it wrong!”) fiasco.

Oh and there’s a battery pack that feels about the size of an old iPod.


Once the thing is firmly on your head, you start calibrating it… you look at a circle and then tap your fingers together. My hands were resting in my lap for the most part, and that felt pretty natural. You continue calibrating by looking at various circles in a larger circle and tapping your fingers. Much like how you would calibrate a touch screen with a stylus back in the day.

Calibration complete, you’re led into a specific set of experiences…

The experiences

I’m sure everyone gets the same set of things here, so this part isn’t very interesting.

  • You open the Photos app, you look at a library and tap it, then some photos in a sequence… one is a shot of a woman with a lot of vibrant red in it, another is a panoramic view of some water, another is a 3D photo of a group of kids outside and finally a 3D video of a birthday cake celebration.
  • You open Safari, to practice scrolling in a webpage. I accidentally brought up the on-screen keyboard. This is kinda cool, you can type like its right in front of you or you can look at keys and tap your fingers.
  • You open the Apple TV app, you watch a trailer for Super Mario Bros. You have a discussion about how Chris Pratt isn’t really doing much voice acting and how Charlie Day is basically just doing his normal voice.

And then the fire alarm went off.

Not part of the demo

The fire alarm went off in the mall. We weren’t told to evacuate the store but there was a loud alarm going on and flashing lights. I was told I could just look around the device by myself for a bit. Immediately I hopped into settings and looked around in there. I opened Safari, I read the Wikipedia page about web browsers, I looked around the other apps on the device (10 in total installed, it said). I moved windows around, resized things… it’s all quite intuitive. Nothing terribly exciting really… the OS feels very much like iPadOS, which it basically is. At some point I was told that almost any iPad app would work on the device. I guess “almost” because some app developers have taken it upon themselves to restrict their apps to real iPads only and not this new system.

Fire alarm still going on, I joked with the Apple Store staff how the fire alarm simulation part of the demo felt the most real so far.

Fire alarm over

After a few minutes, the fire alarm stopped and my demo continued. I got to see some of the more immersive parts of the system… the background was changed to a landscape view and I couldn’t see anything in the store, but when I looked at the Apple store associate I could see them — first almost like a ghost, and then later closer to watching someone on a webcam.

Next I watched some more immersive videos including one where Apple really pulled out the best stuff… swimming with sharks, hanging out with some rhinos, climbing rocks, flying a plane, etc… all the stuff people don’t typically do, but looks cool on a device like this.

And that was about it… I wasn’t pressured into buying anything, I was given a QR code to scan which had all my measurements inside it and I was asked how I felt about the experience.

Overall, it was a nice tech demo. Videos felt low-resolution compared to everything else. In a few years time this could be a pretty fun experience, when it’s both better, lighter and much cheaper.

Taking off the device it took a second for my eyes to adjust, and then leaving the store I got tricked into trying a sample of hand lotion which immediately lead into an upsell about signing up for two years of hand lotion, which I politely declined.