Apple Vision Pro Musings (Part 9)

It’s been just over ten days since Tim Cook uttered the magic words “One more thing…” at Apple’s WWDC23 event, just prior to announcing the Vision Pro.

Apple was no more specific than “early next year” for a release date for the Vision Pro. Tomorrow, in my tenth and final Musing in this series, I will make predictions about what may transpire once it’s out. For today though, I want to tee up questions to ask about this first version of the Vision Pro. Not the presumed second version of the Vision Pro, not the “cheaper” version that has been rumored the last few days to be coming out at the end of 2024, but the one which will be available in the spring.

Five potentially tough questions you’ll want to ask if you get a Vision Pro:

Question 1: What will it be like for people to see a digital representation of my eyes when I’m wearing my Apple Vision Pro?
EyeSight has been described as anything from “creepy” to “brilliant” — will it make one feel self-conscious, or as I indicated last week, might it make people less inhibited to put on the Vision Pro?

Question 2: Does the eye tracking work as advertised?
Others have tried (and mostly failed) to use our gaze as a proxy for the fine-tuned control of a mouse cursor for selections. If Apple has perfected eye tracking then that is a huge plus.

Question 3: Does using my fingers as a way to click links and icons work reliably?
Others, including Meta Quest, have offered hand tracking but not successfully with all users. It can take a bit to get the hang of it. Controllers historically have been more reliable.

Question 4: How good is the battery life? 
Two hours is what has been advertised, but time will tell. In the Meta Quest, you typically don’t want to have experiences inside the headset which are much longer than an hour. Many get fatigued after an hour or an hour and a half. With the Vision Pro, two hours may not be a problem if one gets similarly fatigued at the 90 minute mark. That said, if the market for the Vision Pro really is a replacement for the mobility and convenience of a laptop, then two hours won’t be enough for many users.

Question 5: How well can I see my phone when I’m wearing the Vision Pro?
Many “pass through” visuals in other headsets have missed the mark. What happens of course is that people just take off the headset and look at their phone. And often, once the headset is off, it stays off. If the Vision Pro actually allows us to look at our commonly used digital devices (tablets, phones, watches), then there is one fewer reason to take off the headset. And presumably the longer the headset is on, the more productive one will be with it.

Of course this is just a start — feel free to post your own tough questions. Tomorrow I’ll wrap up all these Musings with a few reflections and predictions.


To read all of Rob’s commentary on Apple Vision Pro click here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 10