We're sticking our necks out. Apple Vision Pro matters. Yesterday a new road opened and, like it or not, we all just set off down it.
But first - specs and jargon aside - what even is Apple Vision Pro? Well, Apple - for once - did a pretty good job of launching a device with myriad use cases WITHOUT causing too much confusion and mess.
Naysay as much as you like about your desire to have your boss and co-workers faces up close and massive in your living room. By all means doubt the utility and power of huge floating versions of your (hated but essential) Microsoft Office apps over their boxed-in laptop equivalents. And do worry as to the as yet unknown and unmeasured creepiness of the virtual, AI-assisted fake eyes and nose that it projects the device’s front-facing lenticular screen.
But do take on the chin the ability to view content (be it movies, games, TV, internet, whatever) on a virtual, infinitely re-sizable screen that - with the twist of the reality dial - can be part of a field of vision that completely removes you from your lowly surroundings.
If only as a device that can replace the need for an 8K huge-screen TV and surround-sound system (and a suitable place to live in that can house them both) then you’ve got a use case.
$3,499 worth of ‘use case’? That’s a decision that’s very much in the eye of the beholder. But when that penny drops… Early adopters? You know who you are…
But what about that visible flaw? The chink in the armour that Apple always endure with their ‘new product categories’. The bit that just kinda jars and has the doubters doubting… Yup, it’s even got one of those - a battery pack that you have to connect via a wire.
Sure, it’s a necessity. Sure it’d be better if Vision Pro just ran forever on magic dust, but I think the battery pack is the right solution.
If you want a bigger battery you’ll be able to buy a bigger battery. Here’s an Apple device that can actually keep pace with the ‘lasts even longer’ upgrades for years to come simply by swapping out the pack. It's actually a pretty nice solution while simultaneously ensuring that the Vision Pro is the lightest most comfortable headset yet.
And - of course - you can run Vision Pro indefinitely plugged in and powered up.
(Although even I have to chuckle as to why they had to make the phone-sized battery pack so damned small that it only offers two hours of life… All those ‘why don’t they just make the iPhone really FAT’ haters will be ‘loving’ this!)
Small screen games… Now on a big screen
And if you don’t watch movies or TV, and prefer your internet trapped on a small screen, just think of the games…
If it’s purely for games (JUST for games) then Apple has got you covered. They've made the commitment that there will be over 100 titles on the device from launch. All taking advantage of a new controller-less* paradigm that I - for one - can’t wait to try. And even if these 100 games are just simple ports of Apple Arcade games, I’d suggest that they’re being rather conservative with that number.
(*Yes you can use your choice of controller with it too, of course.)
All the dev-focused inference from WWDC is in the ease at which games can be ported to the device so, even if a developer only intends to use Vision Pro as an enormous, room-filling, full-screen viewing device for the game they’ve already made, they’d be fools not to put in the limited amount of effort needed to get it front and centre on the new App Store.
Then add to that the doubtless thousands of new developers eager to strike out into bold, new, empty App Store territory and claim first mover advantage… In much the same way that the iOS App Store exploded 15 years ago, it’s going to be one hell of a land grab. And yes, we’re talking about 30 different Suduko games, the return of the iPint and a few dozen fart simulators… In amongst bold new apps and uses from newbies who’ll spot ways in which to use the device that its creators never envisaged, and we’ll all benefit from.
You know the drill.
So what is perhaps most arresting at this stage is the (inevitable) doubt and pessimism being levelled at the device right now and the strange lack of learning these so-called tech-experts are exhibiting.
Sure the iPhone was crazy expensive at launch and lacked 3G (or a keyboard). One year later everyone was willing to pay for the sheer utility in the device (as it got cheaper on subsidised carriers) and it got 3G.
The Apple Watch launched with a confused use case, battery worries and the lack of an always-on screen. A couple of years later it’s THE premium fitness tracker and - yup - it has a massive battery and an always on-screen.
And the iPod. $399 for a box that plays music? Cue a decade of ever expanding options and 450million+ sales…
Come on. You really do know the drill.
Never say never…
So yes, it’s expensive. Yes, you can baulk at ‘how useful’ you’d ever find the ability to fill your vision with multiple apps for games, entertainment and communication and operate them all with simple gestures while remaining present in the real world. But never be in doubt that yesterday a new journey started - one backed by the richest company on the planet, famous for making hit devices that find an audience and ‘just work’ - and one that will only ever get more affordable and better.
Remember, this is the Apple Vision Pro. They've already tagged it with that 'Pro' premium tag from the go. Are you thinking that a year after launch there WON'T be an Apple Vision sliding in below it?
Sure you can scoff for now, but within a few years you, and a lot of people you know, will be buying one. Trust me. You will. The use cases will stack up. That price won’t look so crazy and one day you’ll bite. Maybe you won’t buy the Apple one. Maybe you’ll go for the one by that other company that looks the same, costs less and doesn’t work anywhere near as well. But like it or not, without even realising it, and despite actively dismissing it, you’re on the path already.
I’ll meet you on the other side.