My Initial Thoughts on Vision Pro

Jack Yang
Antaeus AR
Published in
6 min readJun 6, 2023

--

Apple Vision Pro

After a long-awaited wait, Apple has finally unveiled its mixed reality headset, Apple Vision Pro. This unique device boasts innovative technologies like EyeSight and Reality Dial. There are already plenty of detailed introductions about the product, so I won’t go into that here. Instead, I want to share my thoughts on this product and the potential impact it may have on the XR industry.

My Thoughts on Vision Pro:

  1. Exceptional Hardware and Exquisite Craftsmanship

Before WWDC, my greatest expectation for Apple’s headset was its hardware. After all, Apple, as the world’s largest hardware technology company, has a strong foundation in creating electronic products. Indeed, Vision Pro comes with the M2 and the latest R1 chip built for MR. Although the data has not been released yet, I believe its performance will surpass the currently leading Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, paired with Apple’s own operating system VisionOS and Spatial Audio, this headset will significantly improve the smoothness of user experience and possible use cases compared to existing products. I’m personally not a fan of the wired battery pack design, but that’s a problem all XR manufacturers face. Overall, the Vision Pro has aesthetic appeal, and the EyeSights on the front of the headset add a bit of a flagship feel.

2. Software Innovation — But We Could Expect More

Before the release of Vision Pro, the biggest bottleneck in the XR industry was the lack of content. Although there are many VR games on the market, they are far from satisfying consumer appetites. Apple’s surprising co-branding with Disney brought a lot of fresh vitality to Vision Pro, and the new 3D camera gave people another reason to choose the XR headset. But I believe that as time goes by, with the Vision App Store, and more and more developers joining in, each software will have its own MR program, and there is a high chance of creating the next breakthrough.

3. Interaction Design is Somewhat Disappointing — But This is Not the Final Verdict

Where I was relatively disappointed with Vision Pro was that it did not bring the XR interaction design I expected. Instead, it uses existing finger and eye tracking and still uses traditional 2D interfaces in MR, giving me the impression of a hardware-upgraded version of Quest Pro. These interactions are very common in HoloLens and Quest, and there are not even many gestures I thought I would see, such as waving to switch interfaces, etc. However, the hardware that can provide these interactions is all there, and Apple can add these interactions later, just like Meta Quest.

4. High Price — But Understandable

$3499. This price is more than double the current mainstream consumer headset Quest Pro and the same price as the enterprise-focused Hololens 2. I will also discuss the impact of the price below, but overall the price is on the expensive side, but it’s reasonable. We can’t view Vision Pro as a competitor to Quest 2 or Valve Index, it’s more like a half-priced version of the nearly $7000 Varjo XR3, as Vision Pro’s technology and configuration far exceed the consumer headsets currently on the market.

5. Functionality Seems Pieced Together — But Great

The overall first impression of Vision Pro is that it has borrowed many different elements, such as HoloLens 2’s eye and finger interaction, Meta Quest’s multi-desktop, Magic Leap 2’s AR/VR switch, Varjo’s high-definition display, etc., pieced together and added some of its own innovations and advantages of the closed ecosystem to make the product. Despite this, it combines the advantages of all the products currently on the market and, with Apple’s consistent marketing ability, makes it very attractive. I am really looking forward to trying Vision Pro next year.

Vision Pro’s Impact on the XR Industry:

  1. XR Has a New Elephant in the Room

Before the launch of Vision Pro, Meta and Pico went back and forth as the two major consumer-grade MR headset manufacturers and Apple’s entry will disrupt the market situation. Apple, as a hardware giant, will bring new content, combined it with its ecosystem, and bring a different MR experience to consumers. I believe XR will exist like Android and iOS — competing and imitating each other.

2. MR Will Become Mainstream, Ushering in a New Era of Spatial Computing

Remember eight years ago, when I just entered the XR industry, AR and VR were two completely different concepts. With the development of technology, MR technology has changed from black and white in Quest 2 to color. Now that you can freely switch immersion, AR and VR will no longer be two independent products but converge in the form of MR. This means that people will interact more with their environment including the people around them, and MR will no longer be an isolated experience. Although I personally find EyeSight a bit strange, I believe this is a good start. The popularity of MR also means that Spatial Computing will gradually enter people’s lives, and the way people interact with information will be upgraded from 2D to 3D.

EyeSight

3. Limited Sales of Vision Pro, But It Will Not Affect People’s Enthusiasm.

The price of Vision Pro ($3500) is a point of criticism for many people, and the high price deters most consumers. I believe that Apple’s first MR device itself will not have good sales, and the usage scenarios are very limited, but its purpose is to prove the feasibility of the market and start preparing the market and tools for developers. One of the big problems people have with believing in XR right now is that they haven’t experienced it, and Apple can use its brand influence and the unique advantage of its offline sales stores to let many people who don’t buy it experience the potential of XR, thus driving the development of the XR industry.

4. Partnership with Unity Will Ignite the Enthusiasm for XR Development.

Unity’s stock soared 20% after announcing its partnership with Apple, which shows people’s enthusiasm for Unity and XR development. Breaking away from the past limitations of Xcode development, Vision Pro’s support for Unity allows many XR developers to get started directly, even bringing existing VR games into the App Store. I believe Apple will definitely also release a Vision Pro simulator to make it easy for developers without devices to get involved.

5. Use Cases Will Be Expanded and Will Drive Peripheral Appliances.

I believe MR is an integral part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Apple already has a very mature and complete ecosystem (Watch, TV, HomePod, etc.), which will perfectly combine with Vision Pro to form a new experience. At the launch, Apple has already shown use cases for meditation with Apple Watch and working with MacBook, and we should be able to expect more application combinations, such as remote control smart lights (maybe?). This series will drive the development of IoT and bring about a series of peripheral appliances.

Conclusion

In summary, Vision Pro has brought new vitality to XR and allowed more consumers to understand this industry further. Since this device is expensive and belongs to the first-generation product category, the use cases are still limited. As more developers and users join in, I believe that, just like the first-generation iPhone and Apple Watch, the headset will gradually become a mainstream personal electronic device.

Thanks for reading my article. Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

--

--

Jack Yang
Antaeus AR

Mixed Reality Engineer • Reimagining Reality with XR • https://jackyang.io/