Blog #0167: A few thoughts on the Apple Vision Pro after a 20 min test drive

I wore an AVP on my head for 20 mins and lived to tell the tale

Tags: braingasm, apple, vision, pro, avp, ar, vr, mr, spatial, computing

semeon-hrozian-vDa7sw9zyds-unsplash.jpg Photo by Semeon Hrozian on Unsplash


2-out-of-5-hats.png [ED: This is a bit of a departure from usual content, but given how rare it is to see an entirely new platform from Apple, it feels appropriate.]

Today, I was lucky to spend time with a new Apple Vision Pro. I won’t try to do any serious product review of the device because plenty are out there already. What I will do is give a couple of rapid first impressions after using the device for about 20 minutes:

  • It is physically smaller than I had imagined, 10% smaller. My expectations here were based on the size of other headsets I have worked with that are substantially larger.
  • Although a bit smaller, it is quite (subjectively) heavy. Part of this “subjective weight” comes from the fact that, as with many Apple products, it has been engineered to a level that vastly surpasses your average consumer electronics. I noticed this weight most when I wore the device. All the weight is in the front, so you immediately notice that extra downforce on the front of your head.
  • The passthrough effect is _almost_ indistinguishable from reality. I say _almost_ because it is still obvious that it’s a video feed, even if it is very high-quality.
  • The hand and eye tracking and control are _incredibly_ responsive and high-fidelity. I reached out with my hand to touch the UI rather than just using my hand in its natural position. This is going to take a bit of getting used to. People may need to transition to this mode of interaction as we did when we moved from a physical smartphone keyboard to a touch screen keyboard.
  • I only had a little time to experience long-form media, but I could watch a short YouTube video through the built-in Safari browser. Apart from the weight issue, this is an obvious and compelling use case. This is a compelling use case when combined with the ability to watch something with a group of people in an unusual or novel space (e.g., a sci-fi film from the moon’s surface).
  • I noticed after about 10 minutes or so that I was getting a very mild amount of nausea. This was not enough to make me want to stop using it, but I wonder what this might be like for extended use.
  • The battery pack is also not anywhere near as annoying as I expected. I tucked it into my back pocket and forgot about it almost immediately.

These seven things stood out for me after using the headset for about 20 minutes. I will reflect on the experience and see if any revelations come to me.

For posterity, here is a picture of me using/wearing the device: avp-test-drive-01.jpg

And one of the device itself. It isn’t apparent from Apple’s professional product shots, but the headset’s body (front) is smaller than I had imagined. avp-test-drive-02.jpg

Overall, this is one of the nicest pieces of consumer electronics I have ever touched and used. However, the big question remains: What will I use it for? I am still working this out, although using the device has interested me enough to keep trying to answer the question!

Regards, M@

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Originally published by M@ on Medium.

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