Apple Vision Pro First Impressions

Opinions of a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, but one who's skeptical of VR headsets

This first-impressions “review” will be a little different than most because:

  1. I’m a total Apple fanboy

  2. I’m not sold on VR/AR/Spacial headsets

Also, I’m not going to write some super long review. I just want to give some high-point callouts for anyone interested.


I am all about figuring out coming tech, so the “spacial computing” proposition is naturally interesting to me. That being true, I have felt like all the previous VR hardware I’ve tried has been extremely kitschy.

Cool, but just as a sideshow, not as a real thing. That’s just my opinion.

My Apple Vision Pro Experience

So here we go, in no particular order…

The new UX paradigm of eyes + pinch

  • The most futuristic thing about the interface is how you browse and select things in the interface.

  • The videos somehow made it seem like you needed to move your hands to pinch things. And the setup interaction has you pinch things as well, which is a bit confusing.

  • In reality, you don’t—and really shouldn’t—move your arms and hands to make selections. In fact, it makes things infinitely more tiring and slower if you do so.

  • The whole game is clean, crisp, focus on items with your eyes before you click with your fingers.

  • Your fingers can stay in your lap or almost anywhere in the 180 degrees in front of you.

  • The trick is to make sure your eyes do not wander as you’re clicking. If you do, your clicks will land where your eyes drifted to, instead of what you meant to click.

  • If you get really good at this you can navigate and click MUCH faster than using touchscreens or mice.

  • And once you do get fast with it, it feels godlike

Floating windows FTW

  • By far, the most impressive practical application is the ability to have multiple windows floating around you.

  • These windows are extraordinarily clear. They stick where you left them. And they’re very intuitive to deal with.

  • I had a Facetime conversation with a friend yesterday, and around me I had the Mindfulness app, a web browser, AppleTV, the Disney app, and a couple of other windows I don’t remember.

  • But I was immersed in the conversation, and I found myself researching things we were talking about in the browser on the side. It was just wonderful.

  • And the whole time I was sitting on my couch.

  • It was a moment that actually felt like the future. Basically, I got pulled into the moment and wasn’t thinking about the interface at all. It just seemed completely natural.

  • And that was very soon after using it for the first time on Friday.

Immersive media

  • The 3D / immersive experiences are better than anything I’ve ever experienced.

  • The absolute best one so far is the Alicia Keyes live performance. Super cliche, but it really does feel like you’re in the room with her. I felt some emotion on some songs. It was brilliant.

  • I’ve also watched a few other immersive videos from Apple, including the Rhino one, and they’re all absolutely captivating.

  • These videos are way more compelling than other types of media. It’s not exactly like being there, but probably like 80%, whereas other media is more like 30%? Something like that.

  • I imagine education being dramatically more immersive using this medium, which is so needed.

  • We need education that feels like entertainment, because entertainment is what we’re competing with.

The device and experience

  • Watching movies really is nice, and I expected it to be my favorite thing. But I have such a great setup at home that the AVP experience comes a bit short.

  • The reason is the display. It doesn’t quite have the same resolution as a quality OLED TV. Size yes. Much more actually. But clarity, no. I could have something wrong with my device, though, or some shmootz on the lens or something. Or too much light coming in. Not sure. But it doesn’t feel as clear as my screen at home.

  • I switched to the other strap immediately. You need a secure fit for sure.

  • Another interesting limitation is that you can see the eye-holes. Like I can see how my vision is limited through the holes I’m seeing out of.

  • You also have a hard stop at 180* around you. In all directions. It just stops there. Not a big deal, but I thought it would wrap around my head for some reason.

  • The sound is really, really good. But I actually prefer AirPods, which you can wear instead.

  • And neither compares to my home entertainment setup, which has like 9 Genelec speakers and 2 x 18” GRX subs, in full surround. So I wasn’t expecting to match that.

  • My main use case for theater is when I’m not at home. I can’t wait to use it on a flight to Florida coming up! I’m going to watch the first half of Dune to get ready for the upcoming second half.

Overall impressions on how important the release is

  • I think based on the number of insane demos that I’m seeing online, this really is a 2007 moment.

  • What I mean by that is that Apple has reset the expectations of what it means to have such a device. They’ve reinvented the category. And now everyone will copy them.

  • We forget that every smartphone now works like an iPhone. And that’s what’s about to happen with AR/VR headsets. Expect everyone to copy eye-tracking and pinch rather than controllers, for example.

  • Also, notice that the iPhone did this with the lack of a stylus and using your hands instead. Jobs would be happy about that.

  • There are also some pretty significant limitations. Once you see how amazing the screen is, you instantly wish it were better. I think Marquez noticed this too.

  • It’s like you go, WOW! And then 20 seconds later, you’re like, I can’t wait for v2. Not because of the hedonic treadmill, but because the excellence in some areas makes you notice the flaws in others.

  • I think that similar to iPhone as well, the real magic comes from the platform. It’s what devs will do with it. We’ve already seen a ton of crazy apps, but the piano-playing one was my favorite. And the DJ’ing one. Again, the education piece is going to be insane.

Notable apps

  • The Mindfulness app by Apple is extraordinary on AVP. Truly relaxing.

  • The Skyview app is remarkable. I especially love the binoculars and laser features. When you select a laser and then pinch your fingers, you shoot this laser into space and it like burns a path. So fun.

My rating out of 10

  • Hard to rate this thing, so I’ll just make something up.

  • In terms of lows, this is a 7/10. Pretty great, but lots of rough edges and limitations just because it’s an early release, and because the tech just isn’t there yet.

  • In terms of highs, this is a 12/10. For me it’s a must-have because I want to see what everyone can build on it, and I want to use it for productivity and education and being teleported to other places and experiences, and lots of other stuff.

  • In terms of game-changing, paradigm-shifting, and all that. Like future stuff, it’s a 12/10 again. They surpassed the bar of being the next thing in computing.

Ok, but should I get one?

This one is pretty easy.

  • If you’re not an Apple acolyte, don’t have $4,000 to spare, or aren’t into the future of tech interfaces, I’d say it’s not worth it. Wait for v2 or v3.

  • If you are any of those, and especially if you’re 2 or 3 of them…

Go buy one right now.