The Future of 3D? An Honest Review of the Apple Vision Pro

Early adopters from across space150 weigh in on Apple’s pricey—but potentially revolutionary—new device.

7 min readFeb 26, 2024
Never too early to be an early adopter.

The launch of the Apple Vision Pro earlier this month sparked widespread discussion online. You may have heard that it’s too expensive for most people. It looks goofy in public and has inspired an onslaught of dystopian memes. And T-Pain absolutely loves it.

While it would be easy to dismiss the device as the next Google Glass, that would be premature. Despite the Vision Pro’s foibles, it’s also being heralded as magic, an imperfect revolution in progress that could change everything. So how should we make sense of this seemingly game-changing device?

To answer this question, we picked the brains of early adopters here at space150. Spanning the creative, engineering, innovation, and executive departments, they explore the impact of Apple’s latest offering and boil it down to three main takeaways.

#1: Apple launched a rough draft.

One thing our testers unanimously agreed upon is that the Apple Vision Pro definitely feels like a V1 device. “I can see where the future is going, and it’s going to be really great,” says James Squires, Chief Technology Officer. “But there isn’t a lot there for day one. We need more developers building for visionOS and we need more iterations from Apple.”

Unsurprisingly, the price of the device limits who gets early access to it, fueling product lust. “It’s expensive,” notes Ned Lampbert, Executive Creative Director. “Prohibitively expensive. It’s a luxury purchase.” But for a luxury good, the Vision Pro can seem abnormally unpolished — especially coming from Apple, whose reputation has been built on airtight user experience.

Trying On The Headset

While the capabilities of the hardware are like nothing we’ve seen to date — quite literally best in class — the physical build leaves a lot to be desired. It even lags behind battle-hardened competitors like the Meta Quest 3. “It’s very fragile. This is one device you don’t want to skimp on the Apple Care policy,” remarked James. “The magnetic connections on the light seal pop off easily. Grab it incorrectly and you’ll drop it. The glass smudges easily over the cameras which can affect pass through quality.”

“It comes with some compromises,” adds Marc Jensen, Chief Innovation Officer. “The eye tracking is great, but that means you can’t wear glasses — you need custom inserts. This makes it harder to share, and more expensive.” And the awkward, setup-intensive guest mode doesn’t make sharing any easier.

An Unfinished Experience

Much like the hardware, the experience of using the Vision Pro is simultaneously amazing yet incomplete. It’s hard not to feel like Apple is “experimenting in public, which rarely happens,” as Marc puts it. “It’s pitched as an entertainment and productivity device. The entertainment side focuses on videos,” which works well, “but it’s very much a solo experience, and there just aren’t many games.”

Despite being built for solo experiences, don’t try using it in the dark. “It sucks to use in a dim room,” says Dutch Thalhuber, President. “Yet dim conditions are exactly where you might really want to use it, like in bed next to a partner, or on a flight.”

The productivity side is also strangely lacking. “You can use it as a replacement for your Mac screen, but you only get one,” Marc goes on to say. “I really want more screens. You can use native apps on it, but managing a lot of windows is a challenge, something that’s easy on existing computers and 2D screens. It’s just easier to do existing work in the ways we do it today.”

“After 15–20 minutes, it feels like you’ve experienced it all,” says James.

That said, there are still thrills to be had. Take the Encounter Dinosaurs app, a mind-boggling demonstration of the headset’s capabilities. “It’s Jon Favreau’s debut to the Vision Pro, and it does not disappoint,” raves Billy Jurewicz, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Never before has a pet T-Rex reached out through the screen to smell your favorite cologne.”

Making friends with the Encounter Dinosaurs app.

#2: The Vision Pro is the future of 3D.

Despite the launch day foibles, our crew also agreed that the Apple Vision Pro tells a captivating tale of possibility. “The future is there, that’s where it’s going to go,” enthuses James. “The tech is inspiring as a developer. I’m way more excited about building for visionOS than consuming it at the moment.”

Taking 3D to the Next Level

That inspiration, in part, is driven by the hardware itself. “The eye tracking, the resolution, the passthrough video are the best of any headset to date,” says Marc, who is already enthusiastically drawing upon the Vision Pro’s astounding power. “In the applications we’re creating, we’re able to display very realistic, very high resolution 3D models. It’s a game changer for certain types of applications, especially immersive apps that are inherently 3D.”

And the potential of using that cutting edge hardware to create next gen experiences is driving excitement. “For productivity, you see a lot of existing 2D apps right now, which is not the future,” says Marc. “3D apps in a 3D space is the future of immersive computing”

Seamlessly transition from browsing the web to redecorating.

From a creative perspective, Ned agrees. “It does a lot of things previous devices have done and that other form factors are somewhat capable of doing,” he says. “But, the Vision Pro is way, way better at them.” Put another way, if the Meta Quest 2 is a Mercedes, then the Apple Vision Pro is a Maybach — a step up in quality for a niche, high end market.

Apple’s push to have apps ready for launch is an example of 2D experiences not translating to a 3D device. “There’s not a lot of reasons for specific applications yet”, says James. Rather, “we need more great experiences.” Many of the available apps might be technically compatible with the Vision Pro, but haven’t been designed for gestures in visionOS and are more or less unusable. But the ability to make compelling experiences for the Vision Pro isn’t out of reach — many of the group’s favorite experiences were readily accessible via the browser.

Inside the Apple Circle of Trust

As usual with Apple, integration into the greater ecosystem is a big selling point as well. Having it connect to your other network of devices — as well as your existing preferences, contacts, and other safe-guarded personal data — has a cumulative effect.

“If you’re inside the Apple tech circle, it’s amazing,” says Billy. Take djay, for instance, a fun new take on DJ apps. “Because you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you can flip through the Apple Music catalog like albums and drop them on the deck,” he goes on to say. Playing for an imaginary crowd and casting the visuals to an Apple TV allows friends and family to witness your shenanigans, with a crucial social twist. “Just try the AirPlay feature. Mirroring is seamless. It’s the gateway to the party of 2030.”

Using djay to stream a virutal DJ set to Apple TV.

All of this adds up to a great deal of anticipation for what comes next. “The materials, the form factor, and the content will drive demand for the Apple Vision Pro V2, Vision Lite, etc.,” says Ned. And as the experiences evolve and draw in more consumers, developers will follow, compounding the attraction.

#3: Explore the space now to be prepared later.

It’s clear that the advanced hardware and potential for vivid experiences makes for a promising future. But, as Marc advises, “There’s a catch-22: developers won’t go where there aren’t people.” And vice versa.

So while we wait for the Apple Vision Pro to find its footing and establish a broad user base, how should brands approach the device? The answer is exploration.

Putting the Vision Pro to Work

“We’re already working to solve client problems,” says James. “But we’re focused on understanding the possibilities — not solving business-use, enterprise-wide problems yet.”

Marc echoed the sentiment, remarking that brands who are already quick to see the potential in new digital environments should be first in line to understand the Apple Vision Pro’s capabilities. “For niche 3D work, there is a lot of cool stuff,” he remarks.

Creatively, the possibilities are just beginning. “It’s a new tool, and tools are defined by their capabilities,” comments Ned. “It’s capable of a lot, and we’re only in the first weeks.” He points to artists using the Vision Pro on TikTok and goes on. “It’s not only a tool, it’s also a canvas. That puts it in a class of other devices that changed tech. Word processing, iPhone, tablets, Meta Quest, etc. It is reshaping how we’ll create and consume.”

How to Get Started

For those brands who are starting to dip their toes into 3D, there may be better entry points. “The Meta Quest 3 at $500 with a ton of things to do is the best first step into the space,” Marc advises. But for those committed to the Apple ecosystem, trying the Vision Pro in person is still worth a trip. “Book an appointment at the apple store,” advises James. “It’s the easiest way to walk through and demo it.”

Marc uses the Vision Pro to make a ghostly appearance during an all-agency meeting.

No matter your entry point, the migration of consumers to the 3D space is slowly and steadily accelerating, and the possibilities for new experiences are multiplying. Exploring and understanding the Apple Vision Pro’s capabilities are essential for brands looking to navigate the future of 3D digital environments. And brands that are early to learn and adapt will be best positioned to engage consumers in the future digital landscape.

Peter Lansky, Associate Director of Strategy at space150




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