- Apple has done it again. The $3,500 Vision Pro headset takes all the major computing trends of the past two decades, places them around your eyes in a way that looks sleek and feels comfortable, and offers an intuitive interface that is novel and intimate.
But Y tho
- Among the features Apple could not show in its presentation were the 3D photos and videos that the headset could capture. In my private demo, I could sit around a fire with friends or have a seat at the table as children blew out birthday candles in uncanny depth.
"I can watch videos"
- Gene Munster, portfolio manager at Deepwater Asset Management, said this part of the demo blew him away. “3D memories are going to change how we remember things,” he said. “I’m not going to want to take a birthday party video again, unless it’s like that.”
- Apple proclaimed a “new era” in “spatial computing”, suggesting the Vision Pro could do for AR/VR what the iPhone did to revolutionise mobile computing.
Look - I'm like 200 hours into No Man's Sky. I bought the wife and kid a PSVR because they love Beat Saber. And while NMS can be played in VR? I fucking don't. Because rather than hold a keypad in my hands I have to reach behind my back and flail my flippers around to "interact" with the world and fuck you.
"Interaction" is not "find the simplest possible thing and do something stupid so a machine can interpret your moves from across the street." You don't improve the user experience by trading all fine motor control for coarse drunken moves. I don't want to fucking semaphore a computer screen and neither does anyone else.
- “All other VR companies are in deep trouble because Apple has raised the threshold,” said Rony Abovitz, the founder and former chief of Magic Leap, a maker of augmented reality glasses. “They just laid down a gauntlet for companies like HTC and Samsung and Meta to chase. They have surpassed all of them in one shot.”
Magic Leap, you may recall, was going to revise the entire universe back in like 2012, came out with a headset nobody wanted or needed, laid off half their employees and hangs on in the twilight selling products nobody buys. This is the first you're learning that HTC and Samsung make nerd helmets and what you know about Oculus is it was founded by a Nazi and Facebook lost half their value and a lot of their staff in an attempt to will Ready Player One into existence.
- Just days before the demo, I attended AWE, a major conference for mixed reality in Santa Clara, where start-ups showcased all manner of cutting-edge technology that pointed towards a post-smartphone future.
- Magic Leap 2 glasses cost $3,200, while top-end headsets from Finnish group Varjo cost $6,500. I came away thinking this sort of technology had a future, but a distant one. The Apple event changed that.
- Munster from Deepwater Asset Management said he was initially “shocked” by the $3,500 price point and drafted a note to clients emphasising his disappointment. After using it, he conceded his perspective had “totally” changed. “I think it’s priced right,” he said.
Gene Munster will pay $3500 to experience children's birthday parties in 3d, alone
- “The thing that immediately grabbed me was the fact that anyone who used an Apple product will have instant familiarity with the device,” said Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight.
Analysts discover Apple has brand language, film at 11
- Impressive as it is, though, it is difficult to make the case that any consumer “needs” this device. It was entertaining to watch movie clips, view photos and take a call, and I was surprised by the clarity and comfort of simply reading a PDF document.
Holy shit for $3500 I can read text
- Jeronimo added that after 20 minutes, he was ready to take it off. Despite Apple’s “EyeSight” tech — which shows the wearer’s eyes to others in real life so the device does not look antisocial — he was not sure he would wear it in a social setting.
- During my demo, I conversed with two Apple employees in the same room, and a third appeared in a moveable window through a FaceTime call. She was wearing the Vision Pro, but Apple had rendered it invisible so I could see her entire face. Apple calls this a “persona”, which sounds cartoonish, but even when I asked her to dart her eyes back and forth or made her laugh, her reactions were lifelike.
To my embarrassment, I even yelped when a dinosaur emerged from the wall in the demo room, recognised my presence and tried to bite my hand. I was told this had happened all day long.
Use case: now velociraptors can eat your stand up meeting.
- Apple also developed proprietary cameras to take 3D videos of sports games and events such as a studio concert, enabling the wearer to feel like the action was directly in front of them. It was impressive enough to wonder if Ticketmaster was about to get disrupted.
Reader, it was not.
- Disappointment that the headset would not go on sale until “early next year” was palpable. Akash Nigam, CEO of Genies, an avatar tools company, said he was surprised that Apple made little to no attempt to gear the device towards Gen Z consumers. There was nothing about social media or dating apps, for example.
Those consumers that can't afford rent or a car payment? Those consumers? Also, what the fuck is an "avatar tools company"?
- But millions of developers now have months to build content. And once they do, Vision Pro’s potential could emerge in ways not even Apple understands.
- To test opinion we visited Horizon Worlds on Tuesday, when the busiest room was The Soapstone Comedy Club(opens a new window) with a population of 24.