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Apple Vision Pro Arrives 2 February 2024

Apple promised that its Vision Pro “spatial computer” would be available in early 2024, and the company is making good on that with today’s announcement that pre-orders in the US will start on 19 January 2024 at 5 AM PST, with availability on 2 February 2024. Although Apple has said that the Vision Pro would become available in other countries later in 2024, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Canada, the UK, and China were expected to be the first markets to get it.

The Vision Pro will cost $3499. If you use reading glasses or prescription lenses, you’ll be able to get Zeiss reading glass lens inserts for $99 or prescription Zeiss optical inserts for $149. It’s unclear how you’ll specify your prescription during the online ordering process or if Apple stores will have sufficient optical inserts for every possible prescription.

Along with the Vision Pro headset, the box will contain a Solo Knit Band and a Dual Loop Band so you can pick which best fits your head. Also included are a Light Seal, two Light Seal Cushions, an Apple Vision Pro Cover for the front of the device, a USB-C charging cable, a USB-C power adapter, and the all-important polishing cloth so you can clean fingerprints off your virtual face.

I admit to some unease about the Vision Pro. On the one hand, it’s a technological marvel, and having spent my life evaluating technology, I very much want to try it. It’s easy to imagine a few specific use cases where it promises to be appealing, such as providing a large virtual workspace when traveling with a laptop, watching movies alone, and playing immersive games. There may also be compelling accessibility stories, given that Apple says users can interact with the Vision Pro using their eyes, hands, or voice, or any combination they want. And I never discount the incredible creativity and innovation of the Apple development community—perhaps we’ll see a killer app shortly after launch.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine spending $4000 (prescription inserts plus sales tax) on what may end up as a glorified display for my Mac. I’m comfortable and highly productive with my current software and hardware toolset, I don’t play video games, and Tonya and I watch all TV and movies together. Even as technologically interested and tolerant as she is, wearing one in her presence would not be conducive to marital harmony. I’m already uncomfortable on the few occasions I have reason to wear AirPods around her, and like many people, neither of us likes it when the other gets drawn into their iPhone. That’s also true of our extended families, but perhaps we’re unusual, and more families are accepting of each member focusing on their own digital world, like the people below. (If you’re going to have a conversation, why wouldn’t you take the Vision Pro off?)

Vision Pro conversation

In the end, as far as I can tell, the Vision Pro doesn’t do anything I want enough better than the devices and peripherals I currently have to be worth $4000. The cost is, of course, contextual—some people won’t blink at that kind of money, and I wouldn’t turn down a review unit from Apple. But from a practical business perspective, I can’t currently justify the expense for the amount of coverage I expect you’ll want to read. Perhaps that will change with the Vision Pro’s capabilities being augmented by third-party apps or increased interest from TidBITS readers.

If you’re among the people who plan to pre-order the Vision Pro in a few weeks, let us know in the comments what you’re planning to do with it.

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Comments About Apple Vision Pro Arrives 2 February 2024

Notable Replies

  1. I have zero interest in the device. The social implications which you so eloquently discussed in this post as well as last year’s are deeply disturbing to me, despite my respect for Apple’s evident technical excellence in its design and manufacture. It will be interesting to see what develops, but like you, I am happy with my current setups.

  2. No, but I have an (Oculus) Quest 2, a much cheaper and more primitive version of the idea, and I did find it interesting and could see how it could evolve into something useful instead of mostly a toy. Has anyone here tried the (Meta) Quest 3, which I think came out a couple months ago?

  3. I won’t be buying Apple Vision in part because I have not seen a coherent description of what it does and what its limits are, but mainly because I doubt it’s cost effective for any way I could use a display. What I find most fascinating is Apple’s offer of prescription lenses to use with it. Other “Augmented reality” headsets are prone to causing eyestrain after people wear them for around a half-hour. If Apple can overcome that limit, it would be impressive, but I’m skeptical that eyestrain could be overcome that easily.

  4. No. IMHO if anything, we need more direct realtime human-to-human interaction with fewer devices in between, not more. I’ll catch a demo some day. I fully expect to be impressed with the tech. And still, I’ll have no need. Much less so at $3500 base price plus 2x $149. :wink:

  5. OTOH, the Polishing Cloth is included. So that’s a whopping $19 savings right there.
    Who knows, next rev they might even include a set of free wheels too. :+1:

  6. I’m going to order one: I have to revise my “Apple Interface Mysteries” book from Take Control (…), and Apple’s going all-in on its spatial computing user experience—I don’t want to write about it if I haven’t experienced it in regular use myself. So, I have real business reason to indulge myself.

    There’s also a chance Adam may ask me to write up my impressions of the device after I have used it for a while.:wink:

  7. I’ve questioned Apple in the past, and they’ve usually proved me wrong. (For example, I thought the idea of them opening their own physical Apple Stores was going to be a total bust.) But yeah, the Vision Pro seems like a total dud to me.

    More to the point: it feels like a “Cro Magnon Man” kind of thing… like a missing link between what we have today and what we will actually use 5 or 10 years from now (as powerful as Vision Pro but in the form factor of sunglasses).

  8. No. I can think of a lot of ways that $4000 could provide a larger benefit to society.

  9. Ray

    It may not be the early iteration, but I would like to experience one to see what it brings to the table. I plan on getting one sometime, but, like new medications, will wait for some saturation in the market and wait for feedback and glitches from the real world.

  10. I definitely want one! From NZ’s Roaring 40s I cycle New York’s Hudson River Greenway daily (in FulGaz) via an iPad Pro slung over the back of a chair. I very much would prefer the more immersive experience offered by the Vision Pro.

    Apple may buy Peloton — it’s thought not, but there are a lot of indoor cyclists ‘out there’! :slight_smile:

  11. Well, think of the original iPhone… tiny, limited to one carrier, 3G maximum, no API so no third-party apps… great things from expensive devices can and do grow. Let’s hope it’s the case for this device.

  12. So for you it will be a tax deducible business expense, reducing its real cost substantially.

  13. Maybe I will buy one and stick it in the closet for 30 years or so. Just imagine what an “Unopened, original distribution, Apple Vision Pro” might go for in 2054.

    Well, maybe my heirs will when they discover it in the closet as they are cleaning out things.

    “And people thought it would never sell!”

  14. I’ll see how difficult it’ll be to get one (they may be in such limited quantities they’ll sell out in minutes), but I’ll probably try to get one just to be a “first adopter.” (I write about tech and like to muse about the future, so experiencing this is of great interest for me, even if it is expensive and not particularly practical/useful.)

    While I am intrigued by the “work” possibilities, which make it more than a gimmick or game device like other headsets, I’m not sure how comfortable wearing a headset for hours would actually be. That said, everything I’ve read from people who tried one say that it’s a remarkable experience and that you need to try it yourself before judging.

    But I do agree that for 99% of the public, this 1.0 edition is skippable. Future ones will be cheaper and more capable. The early adopters are developers and tech geeks.

    Also: I wonder just how shareable these will be. This seems like the ideal tech to demo to family and friends, so early adopters should be the ones promoting this, but since it requires custom fitting to the face, face id for access, prescription lenses for eyeglass wearers, etc., it seems it might tricky/impossible to just let your friend borrow and try it out while they’re visiting. That could make this a much harder/slower sell.

  15. I’m not buying one anytime soon, but only because of money. I’d love to have one. I think (though not worth $4000), a compelling use case is watching movies on my back in bed. The TV in my house is usually taken up with shows I have no interest in, and the alternate screens I have available are too small for satisfactory TV viewing.

    More than that, though, this seems like a whole new world of computing. Apple seems to have nailed VR/AR in a way no one else has, and an entirely new universe is about to open up.

  16. I’ll look forward to checking one out.

    But that’ll be it.

    David above noted that it’s an interim device on the way to something, like actual glasses. Those would interest me greatly. To be perfectly honest “Siri, where are my damn glasses” would be a major sell. To be fair to Apple I think they’ve always been driven more by AR than VR. But clearly there’s stuff to learn, claim, own in this space before that becomes a realistic proposition.

    I’ve never found VR compelling since first trying it over thirty years ago at a trade show in London, “the future of education” was their pitch.

    Socially I have concerns too, the actual planet needs attention and folks are dividing into isolated tribes online that are, well, baffled by each other when they meet in RL. Don’t think VR and its isolated nature helps either of those.

  17. I won’t be ordering one right away, but I’m lobbying my workplace to get one so I can try it. If the devices become more affordable, I could imagine buying one for myself.

  18. I find people are commenting from a narrow personal use/device aspect for Vision Pro. People are talking about playing games, watching movies, using at home, doing FaceTime calls and so forth. They also endlessly complain about the price.

    I envisage Vision Pro in more industrial, services professional work environments.

    A few examples to illustrate my contention. An electrician needing to wire a complex switching system could use Vision Pro to identify parts and paths, and to progress through the job. A person training to be a surgeon and using Vision Pro to learn correct procedures, to adjust techniques for abnormal conditions, and to follow proven workflow in the operating theatre. A chemical scientist in a laboratory using Vision Pro to follow different solutions and ideas in developing drugs, etc. A golf professional using Vision Pro to correct trainees in their driving and putting. A builder using Vision Pro to follow precise plans and instructions to construct a complicated structure. An intelligence agent using Vision Pro to shift through information and data using a 3D model. It’s easy to keep going with more examples.

    There’s a serious teaching hospital near me in Australia that is already looking to team up Vision Pro with its haptic surgery simulator to turn out better trained and more competent junior surgeons.

    For these types of industrial and professional uses, the cost of Vision Pro sets is no barrier. I see great opportunities for app developers to build serious mainstream Vision Pro applications.

    In the early days of the iPad, most apps developed were basically toy apps. But iPad apps got serious and we see high level use of iPads in aircraft, in the military, in hospitals, and many other uses and operations. So I believe that the apps for Vision Pro will go the same way and Vision Pro will make its mark.

  19. Is there anything like this for medical diagnostic imaging yet? This seems like it ought to improve both efficiency and effectiveness for interpreting CT scans, MRI, and PET scans. The cost of some VisionPro units is trivial if they would help detect problems earlier and/or allow an expensive professional to do more work in less time.


  20. I certainly won’t be an early adopter and suspect, like a lot of TB readers I am fairly set in my ways and if anything would like less technology in my last couple of decades!
    At the same time, I think it’s a fascinating part of a future which we cannot quite imagine even as it disturbs or even disgusts us.
    But it’s mundane to imagine it’s all about games and office documents, even if thats how users start out. Within a few years, developers will have come up with dozens of new uses and applications we cannot imagine.
    The v.2 or v.3 may be irresistibly lifelike and won’t induce motion sickness. Reserve judgement till then?

  21. The technology in this thing is really impressive. I have used various VR headsets over the decades and Apple seems to have really solved a lot of the challenges. But one challenge remains. What is the application that makes this better?

    Over the holidays my family all plopped down on a giant couch and watched a movie together on a giant flatscreen. That was way better than sitting around with screens on our faces. I just don’t yet see how this makes me more productive, more connected or more entertained. But perhaps that will come with more time and innovation.

  22. Woo! Now we have someone to turn to for articles and questions!

    I agree—I think the tech will improve in a big way during our lifetimes, and while it may become compelling eventually, it’s hard to know how long it will take to get there.

    Yes, this is an important point. We’ll just have to see what vertical uses come out—the Vision Pro may have a killer app for a particular profession, even if it doesn’t interest anyone outside.

  23. Is it legal (in the U.S.) to wear a Vision Pro and ride a bicycle on a public road?
    Is it legal (in the U.S.) to wear a Vision Pro and drive a car on a public road?
    I would guess drivers-with-AirPods could (and should) also be illegal but actually there are plenty of them.

  24. At least here in CA, you can only have one earbud in at a time. One ear must always remain free per the CVC. Easy to do with AirPods (although may don’t, not that anybody ever gets pulled over for anything around here anymore), but I’m not sure how you’d do that with Vision Pro. Although, I bet somebody will try to argue that since there’s nothing sticking right into the ear and the ear is not fully covered, Vision Pro does not count as a “headphone”.

  25. I agree it wouldn’t fall under the “two ears covered” restriction (as you say, at least here in CA). But as far as I can make out, the VP isn’t actually transparent. If the battery dies, you can’t see anything. If so, I doubt it would be legal to wear one while driving.

  26. US Federal law has nothing to say about traffic regulations. These are determined by states and sometimes local municipalities.

    I fully expect this to vary significantly from place to place, just like use of hand-held cellphones and other probably-dangerous activities varies from place to place.

  27. No, dont want to wear goggles. I would however be interested in augmented reality glasses or something with a hud in normal looking glasses ie: google glasses style.

  28. Content is king, and Apple is already lining up content, including a big partnership with Disney:

    For many years there have been rumors floating around that Apple has been in negotiations to buy Disney. And Apple has already been just getting its feet wet in live action sports:

  29. Apple’s new Vision Pro ad is fun, but I couldn’t help but think that all the goggles and headsets shown, with the exception of Luke Skywalker’s helmet, are way cooler than the Vision Pro. :slight_smile:

  30. I like how it evokes the iPhone’s Hello ad.

  31. I will be a first adopter.

    I have a vision condition called Epiretinal Membrane (ERM) that causes straight lines to appear wavy. It isn’t (yet?) severe enough to merit surgery and I’ve adapted to performing everyday activities like driving and reading. However, my job requires me to create, edit and analyze very large spreadsheets. That is very difficult to do without the using multiple large monitors so I can bump up the text size way up.

    I’m hoping to utilize the Vision Pro as a laptop alternative when traveling. Even the largest laptop screens don’t have enough screen real estate for me to work effectively. The idea running Numbers on a huge virtual screen is very appealing.

    It seems feasible to me that with a combination of eye tracking and video processing, it might even be possible on hardware like this to correct the vision distortion in real-time. That would be the killer app for me!

  32. Two suggestions for use with Numbers spreadsheets.

    1. Turn grid lines off.
    2. Color alternate rows.
      These are options under Format - Table - Gridline.

    This might help if it is the lines that make things wavy for you.
    Of course if you have trouble reading because of the font size they cannot help.

  33. Those are both good suggestions. Thanks!

  34. Apple has now shared some details about additional entertainment options that will be available with the Vision Pro. Personally, I still recoil from the concept of shutting myself off from Tonya sitting next to me, but I understand that many people watch TV and movies individually anyway. $4000 seems like a lot for fancy movies.

  35. Peloton never earned anything near, or even resembling, a profit. And Peleton makes its own crappy Android tablet. Apple is extremely focused on profitability, and Apple likes to design and build its own hardware and software.

    • Peloton said its fiscal second-quarter revenue will be within its previously forecast range, as it takes actions to slash costs and improve profitability.
    • However, the company added fewer subscribers in the latest period than it had expected.
    • CEO John Foley said the company is focused on “identifying reductions in our operating expenses as we build a more focused Peloton moving forward.”

    My guess is that Apple would have already designed and built a much superior exercise bike system if they were interested in the market. When Apple was interested in expanding further into the music market they bought the already profitable Beats headphones and its streaming music service and invested billions more $$$$$$ to make the service and hardware more superior and profitable for musicians and better for subscribers as well as for Apple customers.

  36. Apple already has cycling support in their Fitness+ product.

    If they do anything, they may develop a mechanism to integrate a Peloton bike (or other kind of stationary bike) with the Fitness+ app. Maybe a software plugin, maybe a hardware add-on for the bike.

    I highly doubt they’d try to sell their own exercise equipment - that’s just too risky and too low of a profit margin.

  37. And there wouldn’t be space or time for potential customers in Apple Stores to display or to try out bikes, let alone line up when servicing bikes is necessary.

  38. I got up at 5 a.m Pacific to put in my order. Shocked to see that it doesn’t work with contact lenses (at least certain kinds). I’ve read everything about the VP that could find since last summer and never saw any mention of this (and I specifically researched the lens stuff as I have bad eyesight). There was talk of glasses and a few comments of “I didn’t need lens inserts because I had contacts.” Then today during the purchase process you have to answer questions about your vision and contact lenses and Apple says some aren’t supported.

    Apple links to this support document which says some hard contacts lenses “might” have trouble with the eye tracking and colored lenses won’t work (no explanation of why):

    Really bizarre these sort of critical details weren’t available earlier. If your contacts don’t work Apple suggests getting the lens inserts – which would mean taking out my contacts each time I want to use my VisionPro??? That’s insane.

    (I hate glasses. My prescription is insanely strong so my glasses are half and inch thick and weigh as much as a Vision Pro. I only wear them when I have no other choice. No way I’m going back to glasses just to use VP.)

    So now I’m not nearly as excited as I was about the VP since it may not even be an option for me. We’ll see how it works, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. No idea if this is just a first-gen limitation or the tech will always work this way, but if there’s a large portion of the population that can’t use the device, that will seriously limit it catching on.

  39. I am very impressed by the options Apple is offering for the many of us who use various types of corrective lenses. I am not convinced any of their options will help me; age and cataract surgery have left me with little depth adaptation. I can see clearly without glasses beyond about 4-5 feet, but I need reading glasses at shorter distances, and I need different ones for reading books and screens. However, Apple is making a serious attempt to cope with the wide variety of corrective lenses that many of us to see well, something I have not seen by any other developers of augmented reality/virtual reality. It’s a very important feature because eyestrain has long been a serious problem with AR/VR.

  40. Are there? I’m one of them, using an old road bike on a Tacx Neo 2 smart trainer, and I use Zwift. Peak Zwift just passed (happens in January for some reason), with 44,000 concurrent users. Generally when I’m on 10-15 thousand are using it. Zwift is rumored to have about 1 million total subscribers, and I’ve read they’ve never made a profit. Peloton supposedly has more users, but I’ll bet it’s a factor of 2 rather than 10. This seems like a small market for Apple. Having Fitness+ connect to smart trainers, sure. But I don’t see why Apple would get into this market.

    When it gets warm enough (or like today, when there’s enough snow for cross country skiing) I’d much rather be outside than on the trainer.

  41. Apple’s not buying Peloton.

  42. The support document says “If you use hard contact lenses, it might impact your experience with Apple Vision Pro. If you experience difficulty with eye tracking…”

    Before even reading the document, my hunch about some kinds of contact lenses not being supported was that they interfere with the eye tracking technology. Cosmetic contacts often obscure the pupil, maybe hard contacts do too. Or maybe have reflective angles that confuse the eye tracking.

  43. I became more ambivalent towards the Vision Pro after reading all the announcements about entertainment content to be made available to the platform. On one hand, I certainly will not spend thousands of dollars to buy a device just to watch movies. On the other hand, there are other forms of entertainment content that is more appealing to me: historical documentaries, travel exploration, etc. Hopefully there comes a day when there is something for everyone. In the meantime, the Vision Pro is probably not for me.

    I am keen to find out of there will be other forms of applications e.g. simulation apps.

    Meanwhile, I invested in a pair of good binoculars (Leica Noctivid 8x42), which gave me a chuckle since this is sort of like the Vision Pro in form, but does not require power, will work at -30°C (-22°F), will not go obsolete so soon, and most importantly, will provide me greater satisfaction in observing sceneries and flora/fauna in great detail while on location. That seems to provide much better value-for-money in my case.

  44. Yes, I keep thinking of the lenses I could pick up for 3500…

  45. My situation is probably trivial compared to what you describe but I need to remove my hearing aids to use my AirPods. The experience is so much better, it’s worth the inconvenience.

  46. I wonder about the Super Bowl. Once I started thinking and writing this made more and more sense. In a month we will know.

    Broadcast, and rebroadcast, in AVP format could be a huge PR boast aimed at a large market with much disposable income.

    tickets for Super Bowl 58 will set you back anywhere from $8,500 to more than $23,000. As of Monday, Jan. 22 most tickets were sold out.

    A couple of AVPs would cost les than one Super Bowl “cheap” seat, and could be used more than one day. This year’s Super Bowl broadcast will be created by Apple broadcast partner CBS. CBS already announced multiple formats

    This marks the first time in NFL history that the Super Bowl will be broadcast in two different formats, with CBS carrying the traditional broadcast of the game and Nickelodeon airing an exclusive kids- and family-friendly telecast.

    An AVP format stream, and subsequent download, would simply add one more format. Recording the Super Bowl in AVP format would not be insurmountable, demonstrating technical feasibility. Fans viewing with AVP would push everything else towards obsolescence. Rather than paying exorbitant prices for Super Bowl advertising, Apple and broadcasters using Apple technology would receive support from Super Bowl promoters. Early adapters of AVP would be swarmed by friends wanting to see how it works. Super Bowl 2024 in AVP format would confer an advantage on CBS’s library of downloadable video.

    AVP release timing fits, as does Apple silence. Early adopters of futuristic Apple technology would be rewarded. A Super Bowl AVP surprise could provide a classic Apple PR coup, even if “That’s why 2024 won’t be like 2024” does not fit.

    These comments are speculation. Does anyone have any real information? My guess is yes, but NDAs make it inaccessible.

  47. Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl half time commercial for Mac is not just considered to be the best creative ad ever, to this day many decades later is is still considered by many to be one of, if not THE MOST EFFECTIVE AD AND MEDIA BUY EVER.

    Apple has run many other Super Bowl ads after 1984 over the years, though nothing has been as earth shattering and game changing as “1984”. Here is Apple’s last year Super Bowl halftime commercial with Rihanna in the lead:

    Since 1984, Apple has always run at least one Super Bowl ad. And it was Steve Jobs who refused to kowtow to Apple’s board of directors and instead run the Mac debut in a much later and cheaper media pod featuring a movie and TV mega celebrity ad later in the Super Bowl. Steve really and truly changed the computer world and advertising with 1984.

  48. Though I bet that most people who go to the Super Bowl are doing so to be in a huge crowd with family and friends, not to sit still on a couch by themselves. :slight_smile:

  49. Yeah, and what would you see with the Vision Pro? Are you a virtual normal spectator, so you see only what normal spectators see, so mostly the people around you and not really that much of the game? Or do you get what flat screen people see (closeups, instant replays, etc.), so what’s the point of the Vision Pro?

    I’ve said elsewhere that there are only two things I’d be interested in having a Vision Pro for. One is that I have lots of 360 video taken with a Garmin VIRB 360 (long discontinued), and it’d be nice to just look around rather than having to pan with a mouse or hold my iPad up and move it around. The second is to get better looks at the scenery in Zwift as I ride along. Of course, for the second the Vision Pro would have to be sweat proof, and Zwift would have to create a 3d app for the Vision Pro. But I’m not $3000 interested in either.

  50. I have no clue what the app will let you do, but if Apple’s SuperBowl app is designed to showcase the unique capabilities of an AVP, I would expect it to include:

    • 3D video (probably synthesized from multiple camera angles)
    • The ability to view the game from any place in the stadium from nosebleed seats to the coach’s chair on the field. Maybe also an overhead view (e.g. what a blimp or a drone might see)
    • The ability to zoom in on whatever you’re looking at.
    • Picture-in-picture to allow multiple simultaneous views. So maybe you can keep an overview of the entire field in one corner, and watch announcers providing commentary in another corner while you’re zoomed in on the quarterback on the main screen.
    • Live stats. Maybe in a corner of the screen. Maybe hovering next to the players to whom they apply. Configurable, of course, so you aren’t forced to look at it when you don’t want to see it.
    • The ability to select replay/clips (as they become available) so you can re-watch a particularly interesting play without needing to wait for a commentator to choose to show it.

    Yes, this is really ambitious. It will require a lot of processing power, a lot of network bandwidth, and the video source (a TV network?) is going to have to provide all the necessary video data. But if they can pull off something on that scale, it will show the AVP to be a truly unique device that can present the game in a way no other device can.

  51. This is true, and a significant number of good seats, including family and friends, goes to the people who keep the Super Bowl profitable… advertisers and media companies.

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