Vision Pro reviews

Joanna Stern has posted her review of the Vision Pro.

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Marques Brownlee has posted an unboxing video:

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Scaremongering from the Washington Post (the link shouldn’t be paywalled).

More reviews from seeded reviewers:

John Gruber (Daring Fireball)

Niley Patel (The Verge)

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I was a bit shocked to learn that the AVP apparently has no reserve battery. If you want to switch batteries to effectively get more use than the ~2.5-hr battery life (some report having gotten 3 hrs out of it), the AVP will power down as soon as you disconnect the battery. After attaching a fresh battery, you have to power AVP up again. So if you want to use it for more than ~2.5 hrs at a time, that will require remaining tethered to an external power source. I thought I remembered when Apple initially launched AVP they indicated you could hot-swap batteries. Guess not.

Joanna Stern already pointed out in her video review how awful the personas are (still in beta though). And The Verge review agrees. But now I also see complaints about the EyeSight display. Some even suggesting it won’t survive gen 2. Wonder how much of EyeSight is really added value and worthy feature vs. just a gimmick intended to make AVP stand out from its competitors. It’s not like real-life talking to somebody wearing these goggles would be any less dorky just because there’s virtual eyes painted across the front, is it?

I went into the article thinking it was going to be completely overblown, but after reading it, I think Fowler is raising reasonable points about third-party apps being able to collect data about your surroundings and aspects of your body other than your eyes. Yeah, it’s a little hard to imagine such data being collected and used for marketing right now, but some of what data brokers do with location tracking would have felt like that 15 years ago, too.

My strong suspicion is that Apple is fully aware of the issues but just hasn’t formalized its rules yet, given the desire to encourage developers to support the Vision Pro and the early state of the platform. Plus, there are so few of these available that the data won’t be worth much until there’s a critical mass of users to market to.

If nothing else, Apple has put so much effort into promoting privacy that it won’t want to let the perception of privacy problems stand in the way of adoption.

Marques Brownlee’s next video about using the Vision Pro is now up too.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel finally answered a question I’ve had about the Vision Pro from day one: when using it as a display for a Mac, it’s basically like a single Studio Display.

The upshot of all of this is that 4K content runs at a native 4K resolution — it has all the pixels to do it, just like an iMac — but you have a grand total of 2560 x 1440 to place windows in, regardless of how big you make the Mac display in space, and you’re not seeing a pixel-perfect 5K image.

To be fair, you could also have other visionOS or iPadOS apps showing as well in separate windows, but this doesn’t feel like a productivity win for someone like me who is accustomed to a pair of 27-inch displays. Still, it might be a win for those who want a larger screen while traveling, though the $200 travel case that Marques Brownlee showed in his unboxing looks like it would be quite a bit larger than my usual laptop bag.

The fact that he could wear it for only 30-60 minutes before needing a break was also telling.

That’s very important because it’s been a major problem with AR/VR headsets since they started. Canadian military researchers say recommend wearing time for no more than 25 minutes for Microsoft’s HoloLens. A US soldier who tested it for battlefield use said using Hololens could get him killed. That’s from an article I had published last month which I think may be behind a paywall. Optics & Photonics News - Brilliant Idea or Big Headache?

Amazon shows smaller and cheaper cases, although most seem to be generalized VR device cases that may not have room for the various accessories you want to carry. One that appears specifically designed for the Vision Pro is the Spigen Case. Of course, it’s out of stock at Amazon.

One of the things which intrigued me was the ability to have your iPad apps up alongside your Mac. I had hoped that you could have two or more Macs up ( I typically have three Macs on the go in the studio) but apparently not possible.

CNET’s Scott Stein:

Mark Spoonauer of Tom’s Guide:

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About battery life:
The VisionPro charger supplies 30 watts of power. So, to extend the battery’s life, you should be able to plug it into a power bank that provides at least 30 watts through a USB-C port.

For all those among you who miss Lightning — it’s back for AVP and this time with more contacts a vengeance! :laughing:

I think Nilay Patel’s review at the Verge is the best so far at communicating the confusions about this thing (Joanna Stern’s was charming, too).

There is no doubt it is a tour de force of engineering and design equal in its leap to the iPhone. But it is not a consumer product, though there are far more consumers who will buy it than people think (remember it costs half as much in adjusted dollars than the original Macintosh).

Part of the confusion is that everybody has a computer now so how is this going to make them more productive? Well, maybe not much if at all. . . . But for anyone who does simulations for training or exploration: architects, engineers, designers, doctors, pilots, sea captains, and on and on this is an incredible bargain, far beyond anything available now at the price, and will become more incredible as serious developers start to really explore what it can do. Spatial Computing, indeed.

For home use, I think it’s too isolating (unless you hide in your home office away from the kids) but for specific tasks like simulation you could put up with its ungainliness and isolation. It is a step toward the Holodeck which is what we all want—no helmets necessary. :smile:


Watching some Apple videos on how to use AVP, I came across this demo of how to use Control Center. In it, Apple points out that you need to select a generic goggles icon to activate travel mode for “while you’re on an airplane”. Meanwhile the icon next to it is an actual airplane (that I presume activates Airplane Mode). The heck, Apple?

According to the user’s guide, Travel Mode implements image stabilization, so the scene doesn’t jump about when your plane bounces.

I would like to think that this would be useful on any kind of moving vehicle (train, bus, passenger in a car), but the document says it’s meant only for use on airplanes. Strange.

The airplane mode icon, on the other hand, although I couldn’t find it in the manual, I assume works like that icon does on a phone, disabling wireless networking in order to comply with government/airline rules and regulations.

But yeah, they could have chosen a better description for their presentation.


I’ve thought about this a bit more about what is unique about traveling by air vs. other media and I think it’s because planes bank and pitch quite a lot as they ascend, descend and turn.

A gyroscope-based orientation sensor (which I’m sure the AVP uses) will detect these changes in the plane’s orientation and will probably cause the the device to react as if you were moving your head - moving the content around the image.

I suspect (and would love to see some tests confirm this) that Travel Mode switches to other sensors (maybe the front-facing cameras) or gives higher priority to other sensors in order to avoid this - so the image only changes when you move relative to the cabin, not when the plane moves relative to the Earth.

Which would explain why they say looking out windows can disrupt the experience. Because then the visual inputs will also change as the plane’s attitude changes.

And it would also explain why ground-based vehicles aren’t recommended for use, because they (more or less) remain level with respect to the ground. Although ground vehicles do travel up/down hills, the attitude changes are not typically going to be as extreme as air vehicles.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading about what others can learn about this feature as various pundits and bloggers start testing it.

iFixit has a fascinating teardown

And Jason Snell has some answers to questions that many people have.