Brian Chen of the NYTimes has what I’d call a slightly negative review. (Link should not be paywalled.)
The Vision Pro is the start of something — of what, exactly, I’m not sure.
But the point of a product review is to evaluate the here and now. In its current state, the Vision Pro is an impressive but incomplete first-generation product with problems and big trade-offs. Other than being a fancy personal TV, it lacks purpose.
Most striking to me about the Vision Pro is, for such an expensive computer, how difficult it is to share the headset with others. There’s a guest mode, but there’s no ability to create profiles for different family members to load their own apps and videos.
So it’s a computer for people to use alone, arriving at a time when we are seeking to reconnect after years of masked solitude. That may be the Vision Pro’s biggest blind spot.
For me this seems about right. I’m impressed with the technology, but less so with this particular product.
I read and liked Brian Chen’s review but I would recommend the current ATP podcast as one of the best discussions I have heard about the device by three articulate and very computer literate people, two of whom own the headset. The consensus seems to be that the device is great for movies and other entertainment but is of questionable value for production.
One thing I found interesting is some skepticism (which I share) about the utility of a gaze oriented UI. Frankly, I don’t understand how this can work well - it seems to go completely against the way we use our eyes. We are constantly moving our eyes as we gaze at things and superimposing a touch control on this behavior sounds like it would be very awkward, tiring and error-prone.
Here’s another review of Vision Pro from a programmer. He’s very enthusiastic about the device from a productivity perspective. His comments on using it as Mac are interesting, especially in how you can infinitely position your display anywhere you want. Hard to do that with a physical display no matter how flexible the stand.
A very interesting and well written review and thanks for the link. His use of s-curve to explain the likely trajectory of Vision Pro is good and expectations must be that Vision Pro will follow the same s-curve feature of most technologies that have gone the distance.
BTW, yesterday I took my Vision Pro and had my uncle try it. It’s the first time I’ve tried guest mode for another user. He’s 78 and since he had cataract surgery, he doesn’t need glasses, so it was worth a try. He’s a computer guy – he’s the one who got me into computers when he showed me his Osborne in 1981. (After seeing it, I switched from saving for an IBM Selectric typewriter to saving for a computer.)
My uncle has been reading about Vision Pro and while he probably isn’t interest in buying one (he buys 10-year-old computers and tinkers), he was super-excited to see mine. He is paralyzed and in a wheelchair and his hands are rather gnarly (limited finger movement) so I wasn’t at all sure how it would go. We just did it in my car with him in the passenger seat. He held up his hands for the initial scan and it worked even though his fingers wouldn’t extend!
He then did the eye scans. He struggled with the first one because he didn’t even know how to use the headset. I reminded him how to look at the dots and “tap” by pinching two fingers. It took him about a minute to do the first scan, and then he breezed through the other two in 30 seconds total. Way faster than I did! Mine always failed because of my hard contacts, but he said his said, “Eye scan complete” and let him use the Vision Pro.
I had him fire up the impressive rhino video. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten the only internet was tethering with my iPhone and cell coverage is terrible at the coast where he lives, so the video took forever to stream. But he got a few seconds of it finally and I heard him audibly gasp. Then he was all, “Woah! The rhinos are all around me. They look so real!” Then he was speechless for a while. It was pretty cool.
He looked at some of the photos in my Photos and was wildly impressed. He had a bit of a struggle moving the windows around to where he could see them more comfortably. “Grabbing” them can be tricky the first few times. As I explained to him, within 60 seconds of use he was already using the eye tracking and finger clicking. With a few more minutes of practice, he’d be a master. We didn’t wait that long – it was just a quick 10-minute demo. I should have thought ahead and downloaded some media for him. Next time!
But he came away wowed. I was so impressed that he was even able to use it. This could be a huge device for the physically impaired. With it he could “travel” and experience life in ways he never could in real life. The lack of a keyboard isn’t a problem since he can’t really type anyway (he works on real keyboards the same finger-poke way you do with the virtual one in Vision Pro).
Wow! Yours is the first review of tne Apple Vision Pro for its’ optimum , though not intended audience! Not flakey gen x curio techs! Elderly semi-mobile or incapacitated intelligent who want and NEED isolated but superb displays! What a boon to them! Deeper pockets, often situated in a head supported recliner… without the need of mouse, keyboard or trackpad.
Go further with this… interview him or video of his experience!