Take it from me: living inside this headset is equal parts fascinating and messy.
Once you get into the groove, using the Vision Pro can feel exhilarating. But when things don't work the way you expect them to – which has happened quite often in my case – you might wonder why you weren't just using the gadgets you already have.
To see what “spatial computing” could do for me, I wore the Vision Pro every day for two weeks. Here's what you need to know.
Here's what you can and can't do with Apple's new VisionPro
What is it like to wear headphones for hours?
Comfort: I could wear the 1.3-pound Vision Pro for four or five hours before my neck needed a break, but I had to adjust the fit every so often. (And yes, removing it is always relief.) I never felt nauseous, and a colleague prone to motion sickness found the experience remarkably tolerable – but she still started to feel uncomfortable after 45 minutes.
Navigation: When you open the app, it just floats wherever you stick it in the world around you, even if you're far away. Bring the app close to you and you'll be able to interact with it just like you would on an iPad.
But you also have to get used to navigating with your eyes. For apps you're not next to, you can look directly at them and connect your thumb and index finger to select something. I've watched complete newbies get the hang of it in no time – but there's still a learning curve.
I would often look at something I wanted to select and cross my fingers, only to have nothing happen. I “clicked” on the wrong thing because the app or website elements were too close together. I've even flipped application windows to a completely different location because I didn't realize my fingers were touching until I moved my hand away.
“Spatial” calculation: If Vision Pro has one purpose, it's to let you put the content and apps you want to use, where you need them. You can run 9 or 10 apps before the headset starts to struggle, and I've spent days trying apps in different places to see what works. Surprisingly, these floating apps were the most helpful for daily work.
I wash a lot of dishes by hand and it is extremely tiring. But that happens less when I have a YouTube video floating above my sink that I can interact with without charging my phone or touching my ear buds.
me too always Forget clothes in the dryer. Now, when I do laundry, I can hang a virtual timer in my hallway as a visual reminder.
and a short afternoon During my workout, I kept Slack and my email next to me while (slowly) riding my stationary bike. With a twist of a small dial (“digital crown”), I could replace my apartment with a rocky Hawaiian landscape, with the sound of a lonely wind. I didn't even have to reach for another device when I needed one; I just closed the application window and went to work.
stupid? Maybe – but now that I've tried these things, I really want to keep them.
In theory, the Vision Pro could be a portable, private office—just plug it in, organize your work apps, and get to it.
I've been trying this for a few hours every day and it's definitely doable. It helps to pair a Bluetooth keyboard and one of Apple's trackpads with the headset, as using the built-in virtual keyboard is a chore.
But to get the job done quickly, I had to rely on the headset's virtual desktop mode, which connects to a nearby Mac and turns its screen into a virtual window that you can resize and stay where you want. When I'm editing my photos or doing the tedious formatting of wedding invitation addresses, the big screen version of my computer surrounded by a huge, virtual environment is hard to beat.
But even this has its quirks. If you have an Apple laptop, you just need to look at it – the “Connect” button will appear on the computer. But if you're using a Mac Mini, or a closed MacBook connected to a monitor, Vision Pro may struggle to find it. (When I sat down to write this article, it took me three tries to get the virtual desktop working.)
The headset's super-sharp screen also means it's great for just looking at things. I missed “Oppenheimer” in Imax earlier this year, but getting it on a virtual screen as big as my living room wasn't a bad alternative. And the sound coming out of the whole set of speakers was so good that I mostly left my ear buds.
You'll also want to keep the Vision Pro's battery powered during long movies; I usually got two to three hours of use out of a single charge.
This is arguably what Vision Pro is best at right now. Vision Pro's App Store may change this over time; Currently, it's a mix of the practical (like Microsoft's Office apps), the clever (like Day, which lets you spin a VR ground), and the weird (like the Xaia AI therapy tool.)
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People treat you a little differently when you wear Vision Pro.
Of course, you see them almost normally with a headset camera. I say “almost” because you'll see the video feed blur slightly as you move your head. (Be careful with these too, as the headset blocks your peripheral vision.)
But assuming you're looking directly at someone, they might be staring at blurry digital eyes on the headset's external screen. These “eyes” are powered by Vision Pro's still-beta “Personas,” your virtual stand-in for FaceTime video calls or Zoom meetings.
My traveling fiancee would happily stop our late-night FaceTime calls after seeing this.
I was almost ready to write off my stuff until I FaceTimed a friend with a Vision Pro. The first half hour of watching his The fake face was nervous. But as the conversation went on for an hour, and then another, the strangeness evaporated—it felt like I was looking at my friend, not some weird facsimile. And he felt the same.
You can and probably will get used to these things. The real question is how fast and who can be put off until they get used to it.
Unfortunately, Vision Pro also has a problem with sharing.
Guest user mode lets your friends see what the fuss is about, but two out of three people I tried it with had trouble getting through the setup process. (One person put on the headset four times before he even realized he wasn't looking at me.)
And multi-user support doesn't mean it can't be used at home like a Mac or iPad.
Fortunately, there's at least one way Vision Pro can make you feel more connected: You can use it to watch immersive videos shot with the iPhone 15 Pro, 15 Pro Max, or other Vision Pro. (Don't worry: You can watch them like regular 2D videos on the iPhone.) They don't always feel alive, but when the scenes were shot just right, I felt myself — and a little less alone — in the moments and with the people. who were not really there.
You probably know you don't need it right now. It is a bulky, expensive and very first generation product. But it's also a new way of living with technology; For one, I think a lot of people can find it helpful if they get over some inherent weirdness.
You can try it out by scheduling a demo at an Apple Store. Better to waste 25 minutes than thousands of dollars.
After these two weeks, I'm sold on what the Vision Pro can do. I want to keep app windows in the right places around me, close out of the world sometimes when I need some alone time, and come back in when I'm ready. I just don't want to wear a thick headset on my face to be able to do these things, or shell out at least $3,499 for it.